Dealing with hazardous substances in plan-making
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What information is available to local planning authorities in making plans?
Local planning authorities should know the location of hazardous installations as they will have been informed of consultation zones by the Health and Safety Executive and consultation distances by the Office for Nuclear Regulation. For licensed explosives sites the license holder will provide the local authority with a safeguarding plan for the site. Plan preparation can be informed by taking into account the likely advice on applications within these zones. This will also enable the local planning authority to have regard to the objective of preventing major accidents and limiting their consequences.
If a neighbourhood plan is being developed in an area where a consultation zone applies, local planning authorities will want to take this into account when exercising their duty to advise and assist.
It is good practice to discuss any emerging issues with the Health and Safety Executive (or Office for Nuclear Regulation) at the earliest opportunity.
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How should businesses that need hazardous substances consent and local authorities work together?
It is good planning practice for local authorities and businesses that need hazardous substances consent to work together when Local Plans are being prepared. This can help to reduce the potential for conflicting land uses and promote safety of people and protection of the environment.
The National Planning Policy Framework sets out that local planning authorities should support existing business sectors and, where possible, identify and plan for new or emerging sectors likely to locate in their area. This may include the chemicals industry, distributors and other businesses that require hazardous substances consent.
The chemicals industry is an important part of the UK economy. Local planning authorities can use the duty to co-operate to work strategically with neighbouring authorities and local enterprise partnerships to understand the needs of business in their area, including the chemicals industry.
In wholly or predominantly business areas that have been designated as such for neighbourhood planning, businesses can take the lead and the local planning authority can work with business to support their ambitions, including early consideration of the need for hazardous substances consent.
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What can be done to overcome conflicts between hazardous substances consents and the demand for development?
It is good practice for local planning authorities to work proactively with businesses to consider how any conflicts between businesses requiring hazardous substances consents, and the need for development, can be overcome.
If a hazardous substances consent is no longer used it may be appropriate for it to be revoked so as not to prevent development in the vicinity. Hazardous substances consent can be revoked in other situations, although this may result in compensation being payable.