The ICE has made a second plea for government to protect what it says is “a vital source” of infrastructure funding in the Localism Bill.
Amendments due to be passed
Amendments proposed to the Bill in the House of Lords last week would allow the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to be opened up for use by local authorities for purposes other than infrastructure.
The levy was introduced in the Planning Act 2008 specifically to provide for vital new and upgraded infrastructure.
In a letter to MP and local government secretary Eric Pickles, the ICE expressed “extreme concern” that Earl Atleen suggested that MPs were inclined to favour the amendments.
The ICE says that this could direct much-needed funding away from the provision of essential local and national infrastructure.
‘Protect this funding stream’
ICE vice president and chair of the ICE’s Localism Panel Geoff French said: “ICE strongly believes this important funding stream must be protected for its original purpose, the provision of vital infrastructure.
“We fear, however, that there is a danger of it becoming simply a tax on development. Local authorities are already facing reduced budgets; if the CIL is weakened in this way it is likely to end up being used to plug funding gaps in other areas, and our nation’s infrastructure will suffer as a result.”
“We fear that there is a danger of it becoming simply a tax on development”
The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has previously estimated that by 2016 the CIL could be worth £1bn per year.
With Government also estimating that £200bn needs to be invested in the UK’s infrastructure in next decade, ICE says the CIL will become an increasingly important funding stream.
Former environment secretary Lord Jenkin tabled two amendments on behalf of ICE and supported by the Local Government Technical Advisers Group (TAG), the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) and Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transportation (ADEPT), seeking to clarify that the CIL would:
- only be used for maintenance and development of new infrastructure, not revenue funding of existing infrastructure;
- be prevented from being used for purposes other than infrastructure needs if passed onto neighbourhoods affected by the development as proposed.
Speaking in the Lords debate, Lord Jenkin of Roding said: “The question is: can it be extended to something that is not infrastructure?
“I contend that the original intention of the Act was perfectly clear and that the answer to that has to be no.
“We have to be very careful. We are talking about very large sums of money. We have to get it right.”
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the British Property Federation (BPF) have also expressed concern regarding the changes to the CIL.
The ICE expects that the purpose of the CIL will be considered further at the report stage in the autumn.
In the meantime Institution representatives are meeting with Earl Attlee to continue to discuss the issues.
- Access the ICE’s briefing on the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) at www.ice.org.uk