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Thomson Ecology HandbookNational Planning Law and Wildlife | England

TEH Index

Part 1: Legal frameworks

Part 2: Planning policy and other guidance

Part 3: Development and features of biodiversity importance

Part 4: Surveys and assessment

Part 5: Mitigation and enhancement

Part 6: Practical techniques

Table 4A: National Planning Law and Wildlife: England

Legislation Description
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Consolidates previous planning acts and regulates planning and the granting of planning permission. Allows planning authorities to grant planning permission, either unconditionally or subject to such conditions as they think fit, or refuse planning permission. Requires the planning authority to have regard to any material considerations, which under The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England, include nature conservation. Section 106 covers legal agreements between the planning authority and developer, and may include agreements relating to protected species mitigation.
Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011 (England only), (the EIA Regulations)  Implement part of the 1985 EIA Directive, as amended by the 1997 EIA Directive. Replaces the Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988, and all amendments. Regulate granting of planning permission for certain developments under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The regulations require local authorities to have sufficient information on the environmental effects, including effects on flora and fauna, before granting planning permission. Require the submission of an Environmental Statement for qualifying developments. 
The Harbour works (EIA) Regulations 1999 amend the Harbours Act 1964 To implement the EIA Directive in relation to Harbour Orders.
Highways (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1999 and the Highways (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007
Implement part of the 1985 EIA Directive as amended by the 1997 EIA Directive and replace The Highways (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988. Apply to roads for which the Secretary of State for Transport or the National Assembly for Wales is the highway authority.
Transport and Works (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1995; as amended in 1998 and 2000 together with the Transport and Works (Applications and Objections Procedure) (England and Wales) Rules 2006 Implement part of the 1985 EIA Directive, as amended by the 1997 EIA Directive and provide for amendments to the Transport and Works Act 1992. Apply to projects for the construction or operation of railways, tramways and other guided transport systems, inland waterways, works interfering with rights of navigation, and wind farms.
The Marine Works (EIA) Regulations 2007 as amended) implement the EIA Directive in relation to marine licences.   The EIA Directive aims to protect the environment and the quality of life by ensuring that projects which are likely to have significant environmental effects by virtue of their nature, size or location are subject to an environmental impact assessment before permission is granted. An EIA is always required for projects of the type listed in Annex I to the EIA Directive. An EIA may be required for projects of the type listed in Annex II to the EIA Directive if we decide they are likely to have significant effects on the environment. 
Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) Order 2010 (the DMPO)  Article 16 sets out the consultation procedures for developments affecting Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The DMPO also sets out the procedures for making a planning application and replaces the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order (the GDPO).
Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 Provided the initial statutory underpinning for (now mostly abolished) Regional Spatial Strategies, later provided by the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 (see below), and Local Development Frameworks. The combination of Regional Spatial Strategies and Local Development Frameworks replaced the previous system of County Structure Plans and Local Plans. These Strategies, Plans and Frameworks contain policies for nature conservation. 
Planning Act 2008 Established the (now abolished) Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), which dealt with planning applications for nationally significant infrastructure projects, such as railways, large wind farms, power stations and so on, and sets out the procedures for dealing with such applications. 
Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009  Made in response to changes instigated by the Planning Act 2008, the Infrastructure Planning Regulations 2009 set out how the environmental impacts of nationally significant infrastructure projects will be assessed. Under these regulations the IPC was considered to be the competent authority for such projects with regard to the EIA and Habitats Regulations. 
Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009   Provides the statutory underpinning for Regional Spatial Strategies which have all now been abolished except for one saved policy in the South East Plan which concerns the protection of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area. 
Localism Act 2011  Act with the aim of shifting power away from Central Government and towards local communities. Required local authorities to maintain a list of assets (land and buildings) of community value (which could potentially include areas of nature conservation value), abolished Regional Spatial Strategies (but see above), abolished the Infrastructure Planning Commission ² and established a right of entry for surveys (and sampling) to land which is subject to an application requiring assessment under the EIA and Habitats Directives. 
The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012  Make clear that the main local development document prepared by a local planning authority must be called a Local Plan. Set out the requirements for such documents, supplementary planning documents and adopted policies maps. These documents contain policies for the protection of wildlife.  

² The functions of the National Infrastructure Planning Commission are now undertaken by National Infrastructure Planning, a division of the Planning Inspectorate.

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