On 10 May, Prince Charles attended the state opening of parliament to deliver the Queen’s Speech on behalf of the Queen.
The speech highlighted 38 laws that Ministers will bring forward in the coming year. One of which is the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill that will include reforms to the planning system and environmental assessment. These were originally to be reformed through a standalone Planning Bill but plans were scrapped last year following backlash to the proposed zonal approach.
One of the main purposes of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will be to “improve the planning system to give communities a louder voice, making sure developments are beautiful, green and accompanied by new infrastructure and affordable housing.” In addition to environmental assessment reforms, the Bill will simplify and standardise the process for local plans so that they are produced more quickly and are easier for communities to influence.
The speech also confirmed a Brexit Freedoms Bill will be brought forward to create “new powers to strengthen the ability to amend, repeal or replace the large amounts of retained EU law by reducing the need to always use primary legislation to do so“. A government briefing on the Speech states the Bill will bring benefits such as “modernising the UK’s approach to making regulations, improving the nimbleness and competitiveness of the UK economy whilst maintaining high standards.”
The government is also to introduce a new Bill of Rights, replacing the Human Rights Act and allowing the UK courts to disregard rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.
A summary of the Queen’s Speech is available here.