Follow Us on Twitter

English Planning Policy and Practice

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

Article Index
English Planning Policy and Practice
Development Plans
National Planning Policy in England
Types of Application
Making Decisions
Material Considerations
Areas subject to particular designation
Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas
Minimum Distances and Moratoria
Human Rights Act
European Union Law
All Pages

The Planning System in England - General Principles

The town and country planning system in the UK regulates the development and use of land in the public interest. This section is directed to the law and policy in England. Some points may be relevant in the other countries comprised in the UK, though each has its own distinct policy and law. For that reason separate sections are provided for each country. The planning system is the means by which land use planning decisions are made. The system is governed by legislation, both primary statutes (Acts of Parliament) and delegated (Rules, Regulations, Orders and Directions).

The planning system helps to ensure that development takes place in the public interest, in economically, socially and environmentally sustainable ways. It has a major impact on how local neighbourhoods look, feel and function.

Ultimately all planning decisions involve balancing a large number of factors but key among these are the development plan (produced by the local planning authority) and national planning policy produced by Government.

Planning Permission enables a certain form of development to be undertaken. It may involve building work or a change of use. It will be granted (possibly subject to certain conditions) or refused.

Certain types of work are covered by 'permitted development' rights. This is dealt with later in this section. It means that certain work does not require a separate grant of planning permission, so long as the development complies with the permitted development rules and restrictions.

The UK Parliament has given the main responsibility for planning and development control to local planning authorities (usually, this is your local council). Therefore, if you have any queries about a particular case, the first thing to do is to contact the planning department of your local planning authority.

For an introduction to general national planning policy see the National Planning Policy Framework and The Planning System: General Principles.


Ten Commitments

Central to the operators’ approach to network development is consultation with local communities, planning officers and other stakeholders on any proposed new developments. Pre-application consultation is included in the operators’ ‘Ten Commitments to Best Siting Practice’, which has existed since 2001 to help address concerns relating to the development of base stations, and which is now contained in planning guidance throughout the UK.

Sharing Sites

Mobile phone users in the UK increasingly want better coverage and greater capacity so they can access more services on their phones. While this means that new base stations will still be needed, network operators seek to share sites wherever possible. Site sharing helps reduce energy consumption and the overall environmental footprint of networks, as well as improving the quality of coverage.