Localism Bill revisions could jeopardise delivery of waste infrastructure
Revisions to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) in the Localism Bill could undermine waste facilities being built in the future at a local level.
The warning came from The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), which has published an updated briefing raising concerns about changes to the levy in conjunction with the Bill's second reading in the Lords earlier this week (7 June).
The levy was originally intended to secure developer contributions towards the provision of local infrastructure.
However ICE is concerned by revisions that mean in future the Levy could be used for other purposes such as revenue funding for infrastructure - including maintenance and upkeep - and allowing for the income to be passed to third parties such as community groups.
Local government minister Greg Clarke has previously said this would allow a "meaningful proportion" of the CIL to go directly to the neighbourhood in which it was raised, but ICE says this could lead to very local priorities overriding the need for essential infrastructure, such as waste plants.
With local authorities facing reduced budgets, the CIL will become an increasingly important mechanism for funding new infrastructure, but opening it up for other purposes would undermine its primary function, the engineering body says.
Chair of the ICE's localism panel, Geoff French said, "It has been estimated that the CIL could raise around £1 billion per year in future and we strongly believe this important funding stream must be protected solely for the provision of essential infrastructure that underpins economic growth, both locally and nationally."
ICE has previously called for strengthening and clarity of the Duty to Cooperate clause to ensure that 'larger than local' infrastructure was planned and delivered properly. An amended clause was produced at report stage that addressed these issues.
The insitution also remains concerned about the introduction of local referendums, which could pose questions for planned infrastructure if community groups are able to oppose certain types of developments even before planning proposals have been made.