Government Business 29.03

A level playing field

Among the most technically ambitious of the Government’s planning reforms announced as part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill is the new Infrastructure Levy, which on the face of it appears to be a quicker, fairer way of funding new infrastructure and could even be useful in helping Local Authorities to finally get a grip of affordable housing. The current S106 mechanism - based loosely on floor space - is open to interpretation and often sees projects held up by contractural biccering. New proposals base the levy on the gross development value of the finished project, so both the authority and the developer know where they stand from the get-go.

Also open to interpretation is the language used in the Procurement Bill (see page 29). Rees-Mogg says his post-EU procurement revolution will ’free businesses from straightjackets’ but according to law practice Eversheds Sutherland, the Bills approach to the principles of procurement law appears somewhat unclear. Expect big changes to buying, possibly even by the latter half of 2023.

On the road to net zero, this issue takes a look at Clean Air Zones including Oxford CC’s trailblazing ‘ZEZ’ and a retrofit scheme that can help commercial vehicles operate in the zone. Smart City Business summarises fascinating research into smart city lighting projects and how they can be replicated as well as the innovative use of smart tech in UK ports.

We welcome your feedback.

Danny Wright, acting editor

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