Skip to main content

Planning in (and for) the Aftermath of the EU Referendum

Regardless of your views about last week's vote, it is fair to say that the result has made everything seem more complicated and less certain than it did before. 

The immediate implications of the vote are  limited. Planning law has always been devolved to member states and is largely shaped by domestic legislation, which is unlikely to change dramatically.  Although environmental law has been largely EU driven, there will be no changes to the current regime for some time i.e. until after Article 50 has been triggered and the negotiations on our exit have run their course. 

The most likely outcome, at least in the short term, is a slow down in the extent of government-led reforms to the planning system. Whilst the Prime Minister announced in his resignation speech that the legislative programme set out in the Queen's Speech would be delivered, it is unlikely to be given the same level of priority now that Parliament has more important calls on its time and could well take longer to materialise.

In the longer term, a great deal will depend on the path that our negotiations with the EU take. Levels of immigration will impact on population growth, and on local authorities' ability to plan for future needs in their area. Changes in grant funding from the EU could well impact on the delivery of infrastructure projects and force a re-think of a local planning authority's priorities. Whether or not we decide to reshape the rules relating to protected habitats, or cost protection for judicial reviews, will also  be decided at some time in the future. 

The only real certainties for the moment lie in what has not changed. The UK still has a housing crisis and the planning system will have a key role to play in resolving it - regardless of how things play out following the referendum. 

As Britain has decided to leave the EU, our laws in a number of areas will be changing. Despite this, there won’t be any immediate changes to the way things run in the UK and we still follow EU laws.

After there has been a national declaration of the result, the Government will give an ‘Article 50’ notice to the Treaty on the European Union which states the UK’s intention to leave the EU. From this point, there will be two years of negotiations to agree the terms of our withdrawal.

In the meantime, the UK will continue to be an EU member and will still have the same benefits and responsibilities under its membership as it did before the referendum.”