Regional assemblies have been designated in accordance with the provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 as the regional planning body (RPB) for the region, with a duty to prepare the regional spatial strategy, which includes the regional transport strategy and the regional waste strategy. In performing this function, they carry out elements of the former role of county councils in drawing up structure plans, which was abolished by the 2004 Act. This did not, however, represent a transfer of functions from counties to regions, as under the previous system structure plans had to be prepared in line with the strategic planning framework set in regional planning guidance.
Moreover, county councils retain their role as waste and minerals planning authorities and as a statutory body in preparing initial proposals for sub-regional aspects of the regional spatial strategy. County councils may also, where agreed with the regional planning body, undertake elements of the regional planning body function, including the monitoring of the regional spatial strategy.
No other functions that were delivered or provided by local authorities in 1997 are now delivered or provided by agencies or bodies at a regional level.