The Land Use and Spatial Planning Bill, 2016 has been passed into Law by Ghana’s Parliament.
The Act seeks to revise and consolidate the laws on land use and spatial planning.
It also seeks to provide sustainable development of land and human settlements through a decentralised planning system and ensures judicious use of land. This is to improve the quality of life, promote health and safety in respect of human settlements.
It will further regulate national, regional, district and local spatial planning and generally provide for spatial aspects of socio-economic development and related matters.
The passage of the Bill into Law will also strengthen the institutional capacity of the Town and Country Planning Department to discharge its mandate effectively.
It will also contribute to a more sustainable and well-functioning land administration system that is fair, efficient, cost effective and decentralised and will enhance land tenure security in the country.
The Act will also give a clearer direction to ensure compliance and enforcement of development regulations by the Ghanaian society at large.
Currently, the operational laws which regulate planning practices and functions in the country are encompassed in various legislation including the Town and Country Planning Ordinance (Cap 84) of 1945, Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act 1960, Town and Country Regulations, 1959, the Local Government Act (Act 462), 1993 and the National Building Regulations (L.I. 1630), 1996.
The concurrent operation of these legislation is cumbersome and confusing as each of the enactments has different procedures and mechanisms for the preparation, approval and implementation of plans.
While some of the institutions established under these enactments end up duplicating the functions of one another, some processes have become costly to both the land owners and users alike.
The significance of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Law should also be viewed within the context of the development challenges or lapses inherent in the weak institutional, technological and legal framework governing the operations of the Town and Country Planning Department, which the Act seeks to address.
Prior to the passage of the Bill into Law, the chairman of the Parliamentary select Committee on Environment, Science and Technology, Simon Edem Asimah (Hon.) presented the Committee’s Report on the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, 2016, on the floor of Parliament.