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19/05/2016

The Queens Speech: The Wales Bill

 

After a shaky start to the 5th Assembly and Carwyn's confirmation as First Minister today, the Queens Speech has also confirmed that the Wales Bill will be presented to MPs in the next year.

This Bill follows the St David's Day Agreement and devolves substantial powers to the Welsh Government and Assembly, including the right for it to decide its own name, affairs, electoral system and voting age.

At the same time, some transport and energy powers are conferred, including the ability to set speed limits, regulate taxis, and decide on on- and offshore wind projects and whether or not fracking can take place.

The Bill aims include:

  • Delivering clearer more stable devolution settlement with more powers to Wales, including by delivering on the St David's Day Agreement
  • Providing Welsh Ministers with powers to give consent to onshore wind projects up to 350 MW and for all offshore projects
  • Repealing the requirement for a referendum before a proportion of income tax is devolved
  • Devolution of licencing for onshore oil and gas exploration, including whether fracking can take place
  • Granting transitional arrangements to move from the current conferred powers model to the new reserved powers model
  • Giving the Assembly new powers over: ports, taxi regulation, the registration of bus services
  • It is not expected there will be detail on what may be in the new version for another few weeks

These new powers will tie into the existing changes to planning for major energy and infrastructure in Wales that have already come into force through the ongoing implementation of powers through the Wales (Planning) Act and the new classification of Developments of National Significance (DNS).

New legislation in Wales means that there is a deal of uncertainty around the extent of new requirements for pre-application consultation for major projects. Remarkable Group has its finger on the pulse and is well placed to advise on how to meet the new requirements and a new planning culture in Wales.


If you would like to discuss your project and how the new legislation may affect the pre-application programme, please feel free to contact me on will.morgan@remarkablegroup.co.uk.

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