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Local Authority round-up 08/12/23

Our Local Authority round up provides brief summaries of topical information on a weekly basis, to keep you aware of the changes and updates relevant to you.


Government funds Local Net Zero Accelerator pilots

The government has announced that it is providing £19 million in funding for Local Net Zero Accelerator pilots under which councils will be able to allocate funding to local projects which can help to deliver green initiatives aimed at tackling climate change and help the UK reach its net zero target.  Some pilots include projects which will retrofit homes and install solar panels.  There will be two pilots in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the West Midlands Combined Authority who will receive £12 million of funding and a further pilot in the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority. Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, Lord Callanan, said “These pilots will help combined authorities to unlock private sector investment that they can spend on green projects they see fit locally, whether that be retrofitting housing or investing in green public transport networks – all while supporting skilled jobs, building out supply chains and growing our economy.”

For more information please click here.


Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act receives Royal Assent

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act received Royal Assent on 26 October 2023 which brings in new provisions to tackle economic crime and create corporate transparency.  The Act is aimed at tackling abuse of corporate structures by introducing some major changes for companies.

The Act creates a new ‘failure to prevent fraud’ offence under which organisations may be held to account if they profit from fraud committed by an “associated person.” An organisation will be criminally liable where such a person commits a fraud intending to benefit the organisation and the organisation did not have “reasonable procedures” in place to prevent the fraud. Where an organisation is convicted of the new offence it can be ordered to pay an unlimited fine.

The Act also brings in other significant changes for companies and LLP’s in respect of corporate compliance.  Some of these include the introduction of mandatory identity verification checks for all new and existing company directors, People with Significant Control and those delivering documents to the Registrar.  It also requires companies to maintain its registered office at an “appropriate address” and to provide and maintain a registered email address.

Implementation dates and further guidance are awaited but you can find out more information in respect of the Act in our recent updates here and here.

Planning and housing

Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill introduced to Parliament

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill was introduced to Parliament on 27 November 2023. The Bill includes a variety of measures that support the government’s aim to make leasehold property ownership fairer. Some of the measures introduced in the Bill include:

  • Increasing the statutory lease extension term to 990 years (up from 90 years for flats and 50 years for houses);
  • Removing the two-year ownership requirement for lease extensions and freehold enfranchisement; and
  • Requiring greater transparency over service charges and setting a maximum time and fee for the provision of management information by the freeholder when a leaseholder is selling their property.

The government has stated that further amendments will be introduced to the Bill as it progresses through Parliament to expand the protections given by the Bill, including a ban on the creation of new leasehold houses in England and Wales (other than in exceptional circumstances).

For more information please click here.

Changes to permitted development rights rules

The government has announced changes to permitted development rights which will cut red-tape in the planning system so homeowners and businesses can install solar panels without being held up by costly delays.  Under the new rules homes with flat roofs will be able to install solar panels without planning permission and the requirement for businesses to apply for planning permission if solar panels will generate more than one megawatt of electricity will also be scrapped. Housing and Planning Minister Lee Rowley MP said “We must make sure our homes are fit for the future and can help us meet our net zero ambitions. By cutting red-tape in the planning system we can make sure homeowners and businesses can install solar panels without being held up by costly delays. Crucially, these permitted development rights are still subject to important conditions, including their use in conservation areas.”

For more information please click here.

If you have any questions about the issues raised in this update, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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