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Budget 2024: Planning, Environment and Renewable Energy

The Chancellor delivered his latest Budget today with measures affecting holiday lets, national insurance, childcare costs and the non-dom tax regime. Here our experts consider the impact in the Property sector including planning, environment and renewables.


This was never expected to be a big budget for planning. The current economic picture doesn't leave a great deal of room for the large-scale structural investment needed in local planning authorities, the planning inspectorate and the courts, to enable them to operate more effectively. The wider political picture would seem to encourage pre-election promises over long-term stabilisation of national infrastructure and public services.

We were not disappointed. The future funding plans for local government remain highly constrained - meaning that additional funds for improving planning services are not going to be easy to find.

Promises of an AI pilot to improve productivity amongst planning officers, increasing taxes on holiday lets, and additional levelling up funds will not change the fundamental underlying picture. Without functioning Local Government, we cannot have a functioning planning system; and local government needs more help than this Budget is offering.



The Committee on Climate Change warned the government in June 2023 that the rate of annual emissions reduction must quadruple to meet the UK’s 2030 target. 

Despite extending the windfall tax on oil and gas company profits, the government’s ongoing support for fossil fuels is business as usual. 

Even the continued use of petrol and diesel vehicles is encouraged with the 5p cut on fuel duty, in line with Sunak’s Net Zero U-turn speech last September.  

The only significant announcement that could help Net Zero was the ambition to increase nuclear to a quarter of UK energy sources by 2050.

Environment partner Keith Davidson concluded that the budget showed a “ Lack of leadership and ambition on Net Zero” and 

was a “wasted opportunity for renewables, electric vehicles and green jobs”.


Renewable Energy

The Budget announcement met with a reasonably warm response from certain figures in  the renewable energy industry as  a step in the right direction with some good news for clean energy:

First, offshore wind producers. The large budget increase to the CFD floor  should avoid another flop and promote more home grown clean energy

Second, Great British Nuclear begins its next phase of the programme for  the roll -out of modular nuclear reactors.

Finally, increases in funding for clean technology  and energy mean that the total funs is now almost £1.1 billion.

There is bad news for oil and gas producers : the windfall tax  - the Energy Profits Levy - is extended for another year but will be  cancelled if market prices fall.

However, this has not allayed concerns in some quarters that the government is not doing enough, yet, to achieve its Net Zero targets and a real concern that it will fail to meet its targets.