On 6 March 2014 the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launched this planning practice guidance web-based resource. This was accompanied by a Written Ministerial Statement which includes a list of the previous planning practice guidance documents cancelled when this site was launched.
For the first time, planning practice guidance is now available entirely online in a usable and accessible way. Important information for any user of the planning system previously only published in separate documents can now be found quickly and simply. You can link easily between the National Planning Policy Framework and relevant planning practice guidance, as well as between different categories of guidance.
Planning practice guidance will be updated as needed and you can sign up for email alerts on any changes, or view these revisions on the site. Click the sign-up button at the bottom of any guidance page to register your email details. You can also find more information on how to contact us with your feedback on the planning practice guidance. Your comments are important to us, and we will consider any we receive as part of our regular review process.
This web-based resource was developed following the recommendations of the External Review of Planning Practice Guidance which the Government previously consulted on. You can find the Government’s response to the consultation on the recommendations of the External Review of Planning Practice Guidance, or find out background information on the review.
On 28 August 2013, the Department for Communities and Local Government launched in Beta with draft guidance material this planning practice guidance web-based resource. The web-based resource was open for comment until 14 October 2013, and we gathered feedback on both the usability and the functionality of the draft planning practice guidance on the website, and its content.
We considered the comments we received in finalising the planning practice guidance and a summary of responses will be published later this year.
About this web-based resource
We have published this web-based resource to bring together planning practice guidance for England in an accessible and usable way.
This guidance is intended to assist practitioners. Ultimately the interpretation of legislation is for the Courts but this guidance is an indication of the Secretary of State’s views. The department seeks to ensure that the guidance is in plain English and easily understandable. Consequently it may sometimes be oversimplified and, as the law changes quickly, although we do our best, it may not always be up to date.
Keeping the planning practice guidance up-to-date
DCLG will be actively managing the planning practice guidance, and any necessary updates will be made as soon as possible.
All guidance will also go through a regular review process to ensure it is relevant, usable and up-to-date. It is important to note that this does not mean that we will be continually changing the practice guidance material, or that everything will be updated or amended every time we review it. We know that clarity and stability are vital to an effective planning system.
You can stay up-to-date on any changes to planning practice guidance by signing up for email alerts.
Accessing previous versions of planning practice guidance
You can clearly see on the web-based resource where any changes have been made after the launch of the site on 6 March 2014. The contents page for each guidance category shows when that section was last updated. Each question within the guidance also shows its most recent revision date.
If a question has been amended or updated, you will be able to click on “see revisions” to view previous versions of that question. If the “revisions” link is not visible, then no previous versions of that question exist and it has not been amended or updated.
The Beta version of the planning practice guidance web-based resource has been archived by the National Archives.
You can also stay up-to-date on any changes to planning practice guidance by signing up for email alerts.
Sending us your feedback
Please see our contact us page for more details on sending us your feedback on the planning practice guidance.
Your comments are important to us, and we will consider any we receive as part of our regular review process.
Referencing individual sections of the planning practice guidance
You can refer to individual sections of the guidance using the specific and unique Reference ID shown at the top of each question. This Reference ID is also updated if a question is amended or updated, and you will be able to see any previous versions of that question, with the relevant Reference ID, by clicking on “see revisions”. Please note that paragraph numbers are not necessarily sequential.
Linking to relevant legislation
We link to legislation.gov.uk when referencing legislation in the planning practice guidance. Please note however, that legislation.gov.uk may not be up-to-date for individual sections of legislation, particularly when viewing secondary legislation. Where changes and effects have yet to be applied to the legislation you are viewing, in the case of primary legislation this is normally highlighted, but will not be reflected in the content.
The sections listed below set out in order the guidance relating to the planning application process.
- When is permission required?
- Before submitting an application
- Making an application
- Consultation and pre-decision matters
- Determining a planning application
- Use of Planning Conditions
- Planning obligations
- Flexible options for planning permissions
- Ensuring effective enforcement
- Lawful development certificates
On 16 October 2012 it was announced that Lord Taylor of Goss Moor would lead an external review of government planning practice guidance. Lord Taylor was supported by a review group of independent experts, and the review group’s report was published on 21 December 2012. The review group found the existing guidance was unwieldy in its current form and recommended that it be shorter but retain key elements, be more accessible, and more useful to everyone using the planning system. These recommendations were strongly supported by a public consultation carried out by the Government between 21 December 2012 and 15 February 2013. More information on this consultation and the Government’s response can be found on GOV.UK.
The Government accepted the majority of the review group’s recommendations, and invited the review group to continue their involvement as an external challenge panel to make sure the new and revised guidance material was suitable for publication.
Lord Taylor and the Review Group ended their involvement with the review of planning practice guidance on 6 March 2014 when the planning practice guidance was issued and the web-based resource fully launched.
Background information on the National Planning Policy Framework
The National Planning Policy Framework sets out the Government’s planning policies for England. It was published on 27 March 2012.
The National Planning Policy Framework is a key part of the Government’s reforms to make the planning system less complex and easier to understand. It vastly reduced the number of pages of national policy about planning.
The National Planning Policy Framework must be taken into account in the preparation of Local and neighbourhood Plans, and is a material consideration in planning decisions. It states that in order to be considered sound a Local Plan should be consistent with national planning policy.
Waste planning policy was excluded from the National Planning Policy Framework on account of its unique role as part of a wider national waste management plan. The waste management plan for England was published in December 2013 and National Planning Policy for Waste was published in October 2014.
The National Planning Policy Framework should be read in conjunction with the Government’s planning policy for traveller sites. Local planning authorities preparing plans and taking decisions on waste or travellers’ sites should also take account of the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework.
There are no specific policies for nationally significant infrastructure projects in the National Planning Policy Framework. The Secretary of State determines these in accordance with the Planning Act 2008 and relevant national policy statements for major infrastructure, as well as any other matters that are considered both important and relevant (which may include the National Planning Policy Framework). More information can be found on GOV.UK.
Guidance on the Community Infrastructure Levy was added to the planning practice guidance web-based resource on 12 June 2014. This replaced the stand-alone guidance that was published in PDF format when amendments to the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations came into effect in February 2014. The following minor changes have been made since the February 2014 version:
- Clarification around the operation of regulation 128A in respect of transitional arrangements for section 73 applications.
- Reference to local authorities giving consideration to setting differential rates in respect of alternative models of social housing provision.
- Reference to how instalment policies can assist the viability and delivery of development within the buy to let sector.
- Clarification around how the restriction on the pooling of planning obligations relates to staged section 106 payments.
The following documents published by the Department for Communities and Local Government were archived when the planning practice guidance web-based resource was launched in March 2014:
- April 2013 Community Infrastructure Levy: Guidance
- May 2011 Community Infrastructure Levy: an Overview
- May 2011 Community Infrastructure Levy Relief: information document
- October 2011 Community Infrastructure Levy: collection and enforcement information document
- November 2010 Community Infrastructure Levy: Summary
- March 2010 Community Infrastructure Levy Guidance: charge setting and charging schedule procedures