Wales planning news, August 2022


Wales planning news, August 2022

15 Aug 2022




 Headline news


Further measures to tackle second home ownership in Wales

The Welsh Government has announced further measures designed to tackle the high rates of second home ownership in the country. This is in addition to the previously announced increase to the maximum amount of council tax premiums for second homes, reported here.
New planning regulations are set to be introduced by the end of the summer which create three new use classes. These will be a primary home, a second home and short-term holiday accommodation. This will allow local planning authorities (LPAs) to require planning permission when moving from one use class to another if evidence is available to justify restricting permitted development rights. The Government has also pledged to give local authorities the ability to control second homes and holiday ownership through changes to national planning policy. These measures are aimed at providing LPAs with greater control over second home ownership than is currently the case. A statutory licencing scheme will be introduced which will require all accommodation specifically provided for tourists to obtain a licence which is designed to raise the standards of accommodation and essentially make the process more rigorous for those setting up holiday accommodation.
Land transaction taxes have also been targeted, following a consultation about a varying rates in areas with high rates of second home ownership. The Welsh Government will work with local authorities to prepare a national framework which will allow them to apply increased land transaction tax rates on second homes and holiday lets.

Welsh Government, Press Release, New package of measures to address high numbers of second homes



Quote of the month


There is no single measure, which will solve this crisis and there is no quick fix. We need a “Team Wales” approach, where government, regulators and all relevant sectors – work together, over the immediate and medium-term to realise long-term results to improve the water quality in our rivers.

Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister


Summit on reducing river pollution

The Welsh Government has hosted a summit at the Royal Welsh Show to discuss reducing river pollution in Welsh rivers. The summit included representatives from environmental agencies, water companies, farming unions, the building industry and regulators. The Welsh Government is investing £40m over the next three years to tackle river pollution. High phosphate levels in rivers have already harmed ecosystems and prevented housing development from taking place. As discussed in this blog Natural Resources Wales has introduced new tougher targets and guidance for phosphate pollution in riverine Special Areas of Conservation across Wales. The new targets have resulted in many local authorities being unable to determine applications for residential development.
Several areas for further development were identified at the summit. The Welsh Government will provide a further £415,000 of funding for nutrient management boards and review the existing governance structures to ensure they are fit for purpose, with the outcome published in the autumn. There will be a focus on nature-based solutions to mitigate phosphorus levels with particular attention on short term measures and drawing funding from developers and the Welsh Government. A nutrient calculator covering all of Wales will be developed which will help local planning authorities consider local circumstances when making decisions. An SAC Rivers Action Plan will also be developed which will outline the actions, timescales and responsibilities for all the groups at the summit. Lichfields will continue to monitor this issue going forward.

Welsh Government, First Minister hosts summit on solutions to river pollution

Written Statement: River Pollution Summit at the Royal Welsh Show (1 August 2022) | GOV.WALES

Historic Environment (Wales) Bill laid before the Senedd

As previously reported here, the Welsh Government has launched a programme to improve the accessibility of Welsh law with the aim being to simplify planning and historic environment law through an ongoing plan to create codes of Welsh law. The introduction of the Historic Environment (Wales) Bill is the first step of this process, and the Bill has been laid before the Senedd Cymru. The legislation will be consolidated and modernised with the aim of making it easier to apply. The Bill brings together legislation currently set out in a number of Acts, including:
  • The Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953
  • Parts 1 and 3 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 (“the 1979 Act”)
  • The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act) 1990 (“the 1990 Listed Buildings Act”)
  • Part 4 of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016

Welsh Government, Written Statement: Historic Environment (Wales) Bill – introduction to Senedd Cymru
Historic Environment (Wales) Bill

Developers Pact for building safety

Following the introduction of the Building Safety Act in England which is discussed here, the Welsh Government has pledged to introduce its own Developers Pact. The Pact will require developers to remediate buildings of 11m or more in height where fire safety concerns have been identified. In total, 47 developers received an invitation from the Welsh Government to discuss fire safety issues of which 28 confirmed they do not have any developments 11 metres or higher. A further 13 responded to the invitation and have confirmed that they will commit to the Welsh Government’s Developer’s Pact. For those developers yet to respond to the invitation, Julie James said “For those not willing to work with the Welsh Government to rectify fire safety issues in their buildings, I am prepared to use all levers at my disposal to ensure that developers are brought to the table and that they commit to the remediation of their buildings where fire safety issues have been identified, or that they face consequences”.

Welsh Government, Written Statement: Update on Building Safety in Wales

Welsh Governments legislative programme

The Welsh Government has announced the new Bills which will come forward in the coming year in an update to its legislative programme. This includes a Bill which will aim to simplify the process for approving major infrastructure projects. No further detail has been provided on this yet, but we will monitor the progression of the Bill closely going forward. There is no reference to a consolidation bill for wider planning legislation.

Welsh Government, Wales’ green agenda: First Minister announces Welsh Government’s legislative programme

Welsh Government Programme for government: update  




The Lichfields perspective

We wholly agree that a cross-sector “Team Wales” approach is needed. The mitigation approach and proposed solutions should reflect the impact of each sector on river quality, recognising that the role of house building is limited. Immediate action is required to ensure that the delivery of much needed new homes in Wales is not delayed.
Simon Coop, Planning Director


Disclaimer: This publication has been written in general terms and cannot be relied on to cover specific situations. We recommend that you obtain professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any of the contents of this publication. Lichfields accepts no duty of care or liability for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material in this publication. Lichfields is the trading name of Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners Limited. Registered in England, no.2778116