Planning Consent – Only the first step

Gaining planning consent is often only the first step on the journey to starting construction phase of the development. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, there will be several planning conditions attached to the consent, indeed, we have seen projects with 92 conditions attached to the consent document. Often the developer needs to “discharge” these conditions before works can start on the project, in some cases, 2 months prior to the development starting.

The conditions are primarily linked to the supporting environmental documents linked to the application. These conditions can range from hours of work, traffic management plans to construction management plans and construction environmental plans to protected species plans, mining reports and having a qualified environmental engineer sign off a contaminated land remediation proposal.

Whatever is written in to these documents, once approved by the Local Planning Authority (LPA) becomes part of the planning consent itself and thus a legal requirement through planning law. It is therefore important to engage civil and design contractors and environmental consultants to work together to develop viable documents that mean the project can be delivered as outlined in all the plans.

There are also several project wide or activity specific consents, licences and permits (depending on which activity and which part of the country you are working in) that are required prior to the project starting or the specific activity taking place. For example, a CAR complex licence should your project be in Scotland meet certain thresholds, or a Flood Defence Consent if your activity reduces flow in a watercourse for any reason. These consents, licences and permits are not associated with the planning system and therefore are a separate entity that need to be addressed prior to the project or activity starting.

Whilst working on a 90km open cut pipeline project Naturally Compliant were instrumental in helping write documents to help discharge 92 conditions associated with the project. These documents met high environmental standards as required by the client’s environmental management system and environmental law, whilst being viable from a practical level. This included an over arching Construction Environmental Management Plan with several appendices including Protected Species Plans, Water and Soil Management and Pollution Control, Waste and Material Management Plans Through to Emergency Incident Response Plans.
Naturally Compliant also assisted in the development and applied for over 70 Flood Defence Consents and 10 main river Environmental Regulation Permits.

Our learning from this process was to engage with engineers and designers as to what is practical, which allowed us to create documents that comply with planning conditions, environmental management systems, environmental law and is achievable on site.

If we can help with any of these documents please don’t hesitate to contact us.