Scotland is set to introduce an infrastructure levy after proposals were outlined in draft legislation.
The Planning (Scotland) Bill said ministers would have powers to create regulations enforcing a charge to be paid to local authorities to fund or contribute to infrastructure projects. These regulations would set out further details of who would be liable and in what circumstances.
Industry figures supported the move but said more detail was needed.
Civil Engineering Contractors Association Scotland chief executive Grahame Barn said: “Until we hear more about how the proposed Infrastructure Levy will work, it’s difficult to know exactly what impact it’s going to have but we would certainly welcome any additional mechanisms to generate infrastructure investment.
“Our members are seriously concerned about the lack of a clear infrastructure pipeline in Scotland; so yes, the Scottish Government’s pledge to put an infrastructure first strategy at the heart of the new Planning Bill is a step forward but as always, the devil will be in the detail.”
ICE Scotland public voice committee chairman Mac West said: “The Scottish Government’s ambition to offer a more flexible and transparent mechanism for securing funds to support the delivery of strategic infrastructure is welcome.
“A Scottish Infrastructure Levy will need to take account of lessons from the English and Welsh CIL if it is to ensure sufficient additional funding is realised. The bill’s success will depend upon the extent to which the transformational ‘infrastructure first’ ambitions of the Independent Review of Planning are taken forward.”
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which came into force in England and Wales in 2011, is applicable to new developments that create a net additional floor space of at least 100m2.
Announcing the Planning (Scotland) Bill, local government minister Kevin Stewart said: “In addition to restructuring and simplifying the system to provide greater certainty for investors and communities alike it will reflect the importance of development and infrastructure to achieve our ambitions for housing, schools, and regeneration - creating jobs and generating economic growth.
“Performance improvement will be formalised so applicants can rely on recieving a consistent service and local authorities will have greater powers to charge for their services.
”In short, this bill will reduce bureaucracy so that planners are better equipped to lead high-quality developments that support the economy and enhance our communities.”