Environmental Law and Planning

Environmental Law and Planning
Environmental Law and Planning

As we have become more aware of the impact of human behaviour on the environment, certain regulations have been put in place to limit harmful behaviours. One example is within planning and construction.


Planning refers to the way that we use our land, and how we control in which areas we can build and develop. It affects each of us to a greater or lesser extent. It might be that your local council intends to allow a new housing or business development in your area, or it may be that you wish to extend your house and require planning permission.

Planning permission

You do not actually need a solicitor in order to apply for planning permission. You can do it yourself, or you may find that your builder or architect will include the application in their services. If you have any concerns with regards to your planning application, or you wish to ensure that you are fully aware of any policy issues which may affect you, it would be wise to seek legal advice; you may find the assistance that you are looking for via the Free Legal Advice Centre.

If you are unsure how to go about applying for planning permission, or if you even need it, you can contact your local planning authority. A planning officer will normally be willing to arrange to discuss your development plans with you. They can, for example, let you know whether your development counts as a permitted development – in which case you will not require planning permission – or whether you should apply for outline planning permission or full planning permission.

Planning appeals

It may be the case that you are on the other side of the fence, so to speak. Whether it is a large development that is planned by the local council, or a construction company, or a relatively small change to your neighbour’s property, you have the right to object to a planning application.

In the case of a large development there are some key steps to follow to ensure that you write a clear and precise objection letter:

·         Thoroughly research the planning application

·         Be clear about your reasons for objecting –

o   Protected trees

o   Privacy/overlooking

o   Ground stability/drainage

o   Non-compliance with other council planning policies

·         Research previous decisions, e.g. typical reasons your council cites for refusing proposals.

This is not an exhaustive guide, by any means, but there are some great resources out there if you feel that any large development may contravene environmental regulations in some way.

If it is your neighbour’s planning application to which you wish to object, there are a few things worth bearing in mind:

·         Any potentially adverse effect on the value of your property is irrelevant

·         Being overlooked, overshadowed, or losing your privacy are grounds for complaint

·         Your objection will be more effective if you are not alone in officially lodging your opposition

·         Petitions, however, are irrelevant.

Anyone thinking of applying for planning permission should be prepared to consider the impact that their development may have on the local environment.

Saving money

It’s no secret that I like to save money. I will comparison shop, and clip coupons, and look for discount codes until the cows come home! I’ve already started to do some comparison shopping on a Jem7v for Chuck’s birthday, and I have to say that I’m disappointed that the guitar is so expensive. I know it is a high-end guitar, and you get what you pay for, but even with a sale price that knocks about 25% off the price, the guitar is more expensive than I expected it to be! I’m going to have to have a chat with Chuck and see if he is willing to chip in some money towards it himself.