Housing Minister launches latest Communities and Local Government consultation paper on the CIL
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is one of the key provisions in the forthcoming Planning Bill, which is currently before Parliament.
Regulations implementing CIL could come into play before spring 2009.
Local authorities will be empowered but not required to charge CIL on new development and it is unclear whether the Mayor or the individual boroughs will be taking the lead on its administration in London.
The government claims that it is seeking to introduce CIL in an attempt to provide increased clarity, fairness and speed.
The definition of what constitutes infrastructure has been spread quite widely and in addition to roads and bridges, it could include schools, sports facilities, open space and even affordable housing.
Although there will be provision for geographical differences in land values, the charges will be set uniformly across local authority areas and not in relation to individual schemes.
Tensions between local authorities may arise where one opts in and one opts out, but they are both reliant on common infrastructure to deliver their Local Development Framework Proposals.
Local authorities will only be able to introduce CIL where they have an up-to-date plan and satisfactory infrastructure planning, although the definition of each in the context of CIL is as yet unclear.
Richard Serra, Planning Director at Savills said, "Aside from the poor timing of what many will see as another reincarnation of development land tax in the current economic conditions, the consultation paper raises many more questions than it answers.
"Although the development industry would welcome a simpler, fairer more timely system of delivering local and sub-regional infrastructure, it is far from clear that this will be what CIL will achieve.
"There is a danger that local authorities will struggle to implement the system; that it will be open to legal challenge; that there will be a variety of practical issues which will only emerge over time; and that developers will find themselves facing significantly higher infrastructure costs," Mr. Serra went on to say.