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Extensions to certain planning permissions

The Business and Planning Act 2020 temporarily modifies the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 so that unimplemented planning permissions which expire between 19 August 2020 and 31 December 2020 are automatically extended to 1 May 2021.

Unimplemented planning permissions expiring between 23 March 2020 and 19 August 2020 may be extended to 1 May 2021 but this is not automatic and is subject to Additional Environmental Approval (see below).

For outline permissions, where the timescale for submission of reserve matters falls between 23 March 2020 and 31 December 2020, the timescale for submission is automatically extended to 1 May 2021 and is not subject to the Additional Environmental Approval.

For Listed Building Consents which expire between 23 March 2020 and 31 December 2020, these are also extended to 1 May 2021 and are not subject to the Additional Environmental Approval.

There is no action required for the automatic extensions but applicants can request confirmation in writing from the Council.  In case of doubt an applicant may apply for a certificate of lawfulness of proposed development under section 192 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Additional Environmental Approval

Can be made by any person with an interest in the land.  Must be submitted electronically to the Council, but there is no prescribed format.  There is no fee.  There are no consultation or publicity requirements.  Full details of what must be provided and what is considered are set out in the government guidance for extension of certain planning permissions

An application for Additional Environmental Approval must be made for all extensions sought to planning permissions that expire between 23 March 2020 and 19 August 2020 regardless of whether or not there were environmental considerations.

The final date for granting or deemed granting of an Additional Environmental Approval is 31 December 2020 (except for appeals lodged by that date).  Therefore any applications must be submitted by at least 2 December 2020 if not earlier.

The purpose of the additional Environmental Approval is to establish whether Screening Opinions, Environmental Impact Assessments or Habitats Regulation Assessments are required and, if so, whether the previous Screening Opinion, Environmental Impact Assessment or Habitats Regulations Assessment remains up to date.  If there have been changes then the application should be refused and the applicant will need to submit a new planning application. No further conditions can be added to the permission or S106 agreements revised. 

The council should determine the application within 28 days, this can be extended by agreement in writing with the applicant, for up to a maximum further 21 days.   The time period starts when sufficient information has been provided to allow the Council to make a decision.   If the application is not determined within these timescales it is deemed to have been granted.  Applications can be submitted from the 19th August 2020 when the legislation comes into force.

If, during consideration of the application it becomes apparent that further information is required or it cannot properly be considered within the timescale, the application should be refused so that there is not a deemed grant of approval.  The applicant may make a new application with fresh information.  There is also a right of appeal.

What does an applicant need to provide:

The application must specify the date which it has been sent and provide sufficient information to allow the local planning authority:

  • to identify the relevant planning permission and condition in respect of which it is made; and
  • to determine whether Additional Environmental Approval should be granted.


Applicants should provide details of:

  • The planning permission to which the application relates.
  • The condition(s) which set out the time limit(s) for implementation.
  • Any condition(s) or other agreements which relate to environmental mitigation or enhancement measures.
  • Whether the original permission was subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment and/or a Habitats Regulation Assessment, or screening for either type of assessment.

If the original planning permission was subject to one or both of these assessments, or screening for either, applicants should also provide details of:

  • The original assessment(s) or screening(s) and a summary of the key findings.
  • Information on any mitigation measures secured to address environmental effects, and the progress toward delivering these measures.
  • An environmental report containing a reasoned explanation of why in the applicant’s view there have been no changes to environmental circumstances which would make the original screening or assessment out of date. For example, it may be appropriate to include:
    • an analysis of any further committed development proposals which may affect the assessment of cumulative effects, and why in the applicant’s view this does not make the original assessment out of date.
    • a description of any changes to the factual circumstances of the proposed development, such as a new environmental designation, new environmental information or other changes of circumstance, and an analysis of why in the applicant’s view this does not make the original assessment out of date.
  • Any other relevant information which would in the applicant’s view support the case that the previous screenings or assessments remain up to date.

If the original planning permission was granted without the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment or a Habitats Regulations Assessment, applicants should provide a brief explanation of why they consider it remains the case that neither of these assessments would be needed if an application for planning permission was being made now.

If the original planning permission was granted without the need for screening for an Environmental Impact Assessment or a Habitats Regulations Assessment, but an applicant thinks that screening might be needed if an application for planning permission was being made now and that the screening would show that no substantive assessment was required, then it should provide sufficient information to enable the authority to undertake screening within the 28-day period

The need to assess the original Appropriate Assessment has particular implications for East Devon given that an Appropriate Assessment is carried out on all residential (and other Major) development within the 10k Habitat Regulations zones around the Exe Estuary and Pebblebed Heaths.

There will be circumstances where East Devon have granted consent after the 23rd March 2017 that expire before the 19th August 2020 without an Appropriate Assessment and collection of the Habitat Regulations contribution. In these cases, we will need to refuse any request to extend the life of the consent as an Appropriate Assessment and associated Habitat Regulation contribution is now required and the legislation does not allow a new Appropriate Assessment to be submitted with the request to extend the timescale for implementation .

There will also be some applications that expire before the 19th August 2020 that were granted with an Appropriate Assessment and paid the relevant contribution at the time. However, as the contribution amounts increased for new applications received from the 21st August last year following a rebasing exercise, for those applications that were subject to an Appropriate Assessment and paid the old lower contribution level, these Appropriate Assessments are also now out of date. Again, in these circumstances a requests for extensions of time will need to be refused as the original Appropriate Assessment and contribution level are no longer up to date.

In these two circumstances above, new planning applications will be required and will need to go through the usual planning application process.