Community Infrastructure Levy

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) will be operational from 6 April. The levy has a long history. Originating from the Barker Report in 2004, there followed a failed attempt to introduce it under the Planning Gain Supplement Act 2007, until it was eventually legislated for in The Planning Act 2008. It empowers Local Authorities to apply a formulaic charging regime on development to raise funds for essential local infrastructure. It is an alternative to, and may eventually replace, Section 106 Agreements. So why, in an emerging era in which infrastructure funding is likely to be severely cut, have so few Local Authorities shown an interest in adopting CIL (a report by Drivers Jonas found that 80 percent of Authorities were either undecided or unlikely to implement the levy)? Perhaps it is because of the loss of flexibility, the need to embed it more in local policy, concerns about the impact on the fragile development market or the political uncertainty. Importantly though, and perhaps because of the certainty it brings, the development industry has broadly welcomed CIL. What is clear is that funding from the previously negotiated Section 106 Agreements has been crucial in delivering infrastructure. Transport infrastructure for instance, was the recipient of £462 million through such agreements in the booming year 2007/08, according to a survey just published by the CLG. This was 28% up on the same period two years earlier. Investment in infrastructure is critical. The question now on everyone’s lips is ‘where are we going to find the money?’ CIL might just offer that source, at least in part. Some sensitive work is now required to make it a workable system that delivers infrastructure but doesn’t deter development.


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