HC Deb 25 February 1997 vol 291 c155W
Mr. Pawsey

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what conclusions he has reached following consultations on the proposed Building (Local Authority Charges) Regulations; and if he will make a statement. [17905]

Mr. Robert B. Jones

Responses to the consultation have demonstrated marked differences of view. The local authorities are seeking significantly greater flexibility in fee setting than would be possible within the constraints imposed by the regulation-making power in the Building Act 1984. On the other hand, developers, approved inspectors and others are concerned that even the flexibility proposed in these draft regulations would not offer them sufficient safeguards.

I have therefore decided not to proceed with the making of the draft regulations on which I consulted. Instead, I propose to institute a broader review which can take account of the roles for private and public sector bodies in building control, and the consequential arrangements for paying for the services provided. Further details of this review will be announced in due course.

It is Government policy that the fees charged by local authorities for their building control work should fully cover the expenditure incurred. These fees were last revised in October 1994. In parallel with the review referred to above, I therefore propose to consult shortly on a review of these fees, any revisions from which would take effect as soon as possible thereafter.