Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

What is the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)?


The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) (the ‘levy’) is a tool for councils in England and Wales to help deliver the things needed to support the development of the area.

The levy states that a planning obligation may only constitute a reason for granting planning permission for the development if the obligation is: 

  1. Necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms.
  2. Directly related to the development; and
  3. Fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development

Current position

Due to delays in the examination of the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan the examination of the draft Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedule has been unable to take place.

A decision was made by Cabinet on 16 November 2017 to withdraw the draft CIL Charging Schedule with a view to update its evidence base and re-consult on a revised CIL strategy in 2018.

The Cabinet report is available here

What kind of development does not pay the levy?

The following do not pay the levy:

  • development of less than 100 square metres – unless this is a whole house, in which case the levy is payable
  • houses, flats, residential annexes and residential extensions which are built by ‘self builders’
  • social housing that meets the relief criteria set out in regulation 49 or 49A
  • charitable development that meets the relief criteria set out in regulations 43 to 48
  • buildings into which people do not normally go
  • buildings into which people go only intermittently for the purpose of inspecting or maintaining fixed plant or machinery
  • structures which are not buildings, such as pylons and wind turbines
  • specified types of development which local authorities have decided should be subject to a ‘zero’ rate and specified as such in their charging schedules
  • vacant buildings brought back into the same use

Where the levy liability is calculated to be less than £50, the chargeable amount is deemed to be zero so no levy is due.

Mezzanine floors, inserted into an existing building, are not liable for the levy unless they form part of a wider planning permission that seeks to provide other works as well.

Who is liable to pay?

Landowners are ultimately liable for the levy, but anyone involved in a development may take on the liability to pay. In order to benefit from payment windows and instalments, someone must assume liability in this way. Where no one has assumed liability to pay the levy, the liability will automatically default to the landowners and payment becomes due as soon as development commences. Liability to pay the levy can also default to the landowners where the collecting authority has been unable to recover the levy from the party that assumed liability for the levy, despite making all reasonable efforts.

How the levy will be spent?

The levy is not intended to fund all infrastructure, it is recognised as being only one possible funding source.

The proceeds of the levy will be spent on local and sub-regional infrastructure to support the development of the area. The levy should not be used to remedy pre-existing deficiencies unless the new development makes the deficiency more severe.

The Planning Act 2008 defines infrastructure as including the following (although it should be recognised this list is not exhaustive): 

  • Roads and other transport facilities
  • Flood defences
  • Schools and other educational facilities
  • Medical facilities,
  • Sporting and recreational facilities
  • Open spaces 

Setting the Levy

In setting the Levy rates as part of the charging schedule, we must strike an appropriate balance between the desirability of CIL funding the total costs of infrastructure, and the potential effects of a CIL on the economic viability of development (Regulation 14, CIL Regulations 2010). 

In order to adopt a charging schedule we must have an adopted core strategy, understand what infrastructure is required in the area and undertake a necessary viability assessment. 

The Planning Act requires us to produce a draft charging schedule setting out the CIL charges in our area. You can view the Parish Council CIL update which outlines the future of section 106 agreements and a draft charging schedule.

Benefits of the levy

  • CIL will provide land owners and developers with greater certainty as to the level of contributions payable from their development
  • CIL receipts can be spent in a more flexible way than planning obligations
  • CIL will generate greater income for us to facilitate the provision of local and strategic infrastructure
  • CIL is non-negotiable
  • CIL ensures greater transparency to local people as we will have to publish details of how CIL has been spent
  • A proportion of CIL receipts are to be shared with the local community

Helpful online documents

Visit the Community Infrastructure Levy page of Gov.uk for more information.

Christopher Cant from 9 Stone Buildings Barristers' Chambers has produced a useful guide 'From the developer's perspective'.

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