Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Localism Act 2011 - Commencement

Following Royal Assent on 15 November, the Localism Act 2011 has now reached the statute book. Section 240 of the Act makes the following provisions as to commencement [planning provisions printed in bold italics] : -

The following provisions in the Act came into force on 15 November: - section 23, paragraphs 57 and 58 of Schedule 4, and section 26 so far as it relates to those paragraphs, section 37, Chapter 2 of Part 5 so far as it confers power on the Secretary of State to make regulations, section 86, Chapter 3 of Part 5 so far as it confers power on the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers to make regulations or orders, sections 103 and 104, section 109(1)(b) and (2) to (6), paragraphs 1, 13(1), 18 and 19 of Schedule 8 and section 109(7) so far as they relate to those provisions of that Schedule, section 110, sections 116 and 121 and Schedules 9 to 12 so far as those sections or Schedules confer power on the Secretary of State to make regulations or publish documents setting standards, sections 117 to 120, the provisions inserted by section 122 so far as they require or authorise the making of provision in a development order, section 144, sections 168 to 175, section 233 and Schedule 24 so far as they confer power on the Treasury to make regulations or orders, sections 234, 235, 236, 238, 239, 240 and 241, and Part 15 of Schedule 25, and section 237 so far as it relates to that Part.

Section 114 came into force on 16 November.

The following provisions of the Act will come into force on 15 January 2012 : - section 25, Chapter 8 of Part 1 so far as it relates to England, section 44, section 45, section 47, section 71, section 80, sections 111 to 113, section 143, section 177, section 183 and Schedule 18, Chapter 2 of Part 8, except section 197(3)(e) and (f) and (5), and Parts 6, 8, 14, 17 and 29 of Schedule 25, and section 237 so far as it relates to those Parts.

The remainder of the Act will come into force on such dates as are specified in the usual plethora of commencement orders. There is no guarantee that every section of the Act will actually be brought into force, and as planning professionals are very well aware, there are still sections in the 1991, 2004 and 2008 Acts which have not yet been brought into force and probably never will be.

Planning, which was originally in Part 5 of the Bill now forms Part 6 of the Act, comprising sections 109 to 144. Chapter 1 (sections 109 to 113) deals with the abolition of regional strategies and other matters relating to plan-making. Chapter 2 (sections 114 and 115) contains amendments to the CIL regime. Neighbourhood planning is dealt with in Chapter 3 (sections 116 to 121). Chapter 4 comprises a single section (122) introducing a requirement for consultation before applying for planning permission. The new enforcement provisions are set out in Chapter 5 (sections 123 to 127). Chapter 6 (sections 128 to 142) abolishes the Infrastructure Planning Commission and makes revised provision for the processing of applications for major infrastructure projects. Finally, Chapter 7 (sections 143 and 144) includes the notorious provision in section 143 introducing ‘local finance considerations’ as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.

More detailed provisions on some of these topics are to be found in the following schedules: - Schedule 8 — Regional strategies: consequential amendments; Schedule 9 — Neighbourhood planning (Part 1 — Neighbourhood development orders; Part 2 — Neighbourhood development plans); Schedule 10 — Process for making of neighbourhood development orders; Schedule 11 — Neighbourhood planning: community right to build orders; Schedule 12 — Neighbourhood planning: consequential amendments; Schedule 13 — Infrastructure Planning Commission: transfer of functions to Secretary of State (Part 1 — Amendments of the Planning Act 2008; Part 2 — Other amendments).

All very turgid; but we are going to have to get our heads round this in the months to come.



  1. Does anyone know what date the new enforcement provisions, Chapter 5 Sections 123-127 became law??
    Thanks in advance.

  2. The answer to the question posed by Gary F is to found in an item I posted on Friday, 11 May 2012 [“Concealed Development – transitional provisions”], where I explained that Article 13(3) of the Localism Act 2011 (Commencement No.4 and Transitional, Transitory and Saving Provisions) Order 2012, which brought sections 123 – 127 into force with effect from 6 April 2012, contained a saving in respect of development that had become immune from enforcement before that date.

    If immunity from enforcement was acquired under either the 4-year rule or the 10-year rule before 6 April 2012, then the provisions of sections 171BA to 171BC (inserted in the 1990 Act by the Localism Act) will not apply to that development. This means that if an unauthorised building was substantially completed no later than 5 April 2008 or if a change of use of an existing building to use as a single private dwelling took place no later than that date, and its use as a dwelling has been continuous since that change of use, then a local planning authority will not be able to seek an order from the magistrates court enabling them to serve an enforcement notice outside the 4-year period. Similarly, if there was some other material change of use of a building or land which took place no later than 5 April 2002, and the use has been continuous since the change of use was made, the new statutory provisions regarding deliberately concealed development cannot be invoked. The same applies to any breach of condition which occurred before 6 April 2002 which has continued without a break since then.

    For the avoidance of doubt, there has been no change to the 4-year rule and 10-year rule