Welcome to 2023. The year of consultations. 

It has only been a few weeks since DLUHC launched the "Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill: reforms to national planning policy" consultation, and already we have:

For anyone involved in planning and development, this equates to a lot of time and effort spent unpicking, understanding and responding to those consultations. 

Let's hope that this time around, that effort is rewarded with a full and considered response from DLUHC. As the last week has also seen the government publish responses to:

All of which were incredibly brief - the longest amounts to two paragraphs - and lacking in substance. The Planning for the Future response was limited to a single sentence "The government set out its proposed approach to planning reform, in light of responses to the White Paper, in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and accompanying Policy Paper ".

The current rapid spate of announcements and consultations is having a marked and immediate negative impact on local plan progress across the country. The uncertainty of policy direction is actively slowing local plan preparation, and in some cases decision making, down in many parts of England. 

Since Mid-December, we have seen:

Which is hardly conducive to the government's aim of ensuring that all local councils in England have an up-to-date local plan. 

And this is before we get into the nitty gritty of all of the legislative changes that are rapidly coming down the track. 

Not only is 2023 the year that LURB is likely to become LURA, with the government aiming to get the Act onto the statute books before the end of the year, but in November we see the end of the transitional provisions for Biodiversity Net Gain under the Environment Act. 

This is when 10% Biodiversity Net Gain becomes a legislative requirement for almost all new build developments.

Whilst some preparatory work is underway, there is still a lot to do, particularly in relation to establishing the off-site credit market and registration scheme. Things are going to have to move really fast, if we are to avoid a 'cliff edge' in November.

Speaking of things that are heading down the track in the coming months... today happens to be the launch of Irwin Mitchell's "What's on the Horizon" report. 

The report is a very handy summary of upcoming changes for the real estate sector - covering everything from planning & environmental changes, development, investment, housing & later living and care. 

It is well worth a read... and not just because I wrote some of it.... 

In short, strap in everyone. 2023 is going to be a busy year!