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Policy and guidance

The National Planning Policy Framework is a key part of Government reforms to make the planning system less complex and more accessible, to protect the environment and to promote sustainable growth.

Planning Practice Guidance (External link)

Please note that planning practice guidance has been published on a dedicated website.

This guidance supersedes many documents which have been cancelled - view a list of those affected.

We are reviewing this section. Please ensure you check the status of documents.

Current policy
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Circular 01/01: Arrangements for Handling Heritage Applications Jan 01 This circular concerns the identification and protection of historic buildings, conservation areas and other aspects of the historic environment. Circulars
Circular 01/03: Safeguarding aerodromes, technical sites and military explosives storage areas Jan 03 This circular replaces the Department of the Environment Circular 2/92 (Welsh Office Circular 5/92). Circulars
Circular 01/2008: The Compulsory Purchase (Inquiries Procedure) Rules 2007 Jan 08 The Circular provides guidance to government departments, local authorities and statutory undertakers on the operation of the new Compulsory Purchase (Inquiries Procedure) Rules 2007 which replace, consolidate and update two existing sets of Rules. Circulars
Rights of Way Circular 1/09: Guidance for local authorities Oct 09 This circular gives advice to local authorities on recording, managing and maintaining, protecting and changing public rights of way. Circulars
Circular 01/88: Planning Policy Guidance and Minerals Planning Guidance Jan 88 This circular introduces two new series of policy guidance notes on land-use planning and development control. Circulars
Circular 02/03: Compulsory purchase orders Feb 04 The purpose of this Circular is to provide guidance to acquiring authorities in England making compulsory purchase orders to which the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 applies. Circulars
Circular 02/2013: Strategic road network and the delivery of sustainable development Sep 13 This circular explains how the Highways Agency will engage with the planning system. Circulars
Circular 02/98: Prevention of Dereliction through the Planning System Feb 98 This circular promotes government policy to tackle dereliction and retain land in productive use. Circulars
05/00 Appeals Jun 00 This circular explains the new procedures for handling planning appeals in England, introduced with effect from 1 August 2000. The object is to speed up the appeal process while maintaining its quality. Circulars
Circular 06/00: School Crossing Patrols Jun 00 The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 was amended to enable school-crossing patrols in England and Wales to assist any pedestrians who want help to cross the road and to enable local authorities to decide the hours during which each patrol operates. Circulars
Circular 06/03: Local Government Act 1972 General Disposal Consent (England) 2003 Aug 03 This circular conveys the Local Government Act 1972: General Disposal Consent 2003, which is attached as an Annex, and provides guidance to local authorities in England. Circulars
Circular 06/04: Compulsory Purchase and the Crichel Down Rules Oct 04 This circular provides guidance to acquiring local planning authorities (LPAs) in England making compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to which the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 (as amended) applies. Circulars
Circular 06/05: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation - Statutory Obligations and Their Impact Within the Planning System Aug 05 This circular provides administrative guidance on the application of the law relating to planning and nature conservation as it applies in England. Circulars
Circular 06/86: Access to information Feb 86 This circular draws attention to the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985, coming into force on 1 April 1986. Circulars
Circular 06/93: Disposal of land for less than the best consideration that can reasonably be obtained - Guidance for Authorities. Apr 93 This circular and memorandum is intended to help local authorities where, exceptionally, they propose to dispose of land. Circulars
Circular 08/81: Various Provisions Apr 81 This circular is concerned with the relaxation of controls and miscellaneous matters including compulsory acquisition powers, land registers, the repeal of the Community Land Act, land compensation, derelict land and gypsy caravan sites. Circulars
Circular 09/05: Arrangements For Handling Heritage Applications Oct 05 This circular amends Circular 01/01: Arrangements for Handling Heritage Applications - Notification and Directions by the Secretary of State and Planning Policy Guidance 15: Planning and the Historic Environment (PPG 15) Circulars
Circular 10/82: Disabled Persons Apr 82 The Disabled Persons Act 1981 added sections to the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 to make sure that developers are better informed about their statutory obligations to provide for the needs of disabled people. Circulars
Circular 11/94: Environmental Protection Act 1990: Part II, Waste Management Licensing, The Framework Directive on Waste Apr 94 The waste management licensing system, a provision of the Environmental Protection Act1990, came into force on 1 May 1994. Circulars
Circular 13/83: Purchase Notices Apr 83 This circular, with its accompanying memorandum, gives guidance to local authorities served with a notice requiring them to purchase land or buildings. Circulars
Circular 13/88: Control of pollution act 1974: the collection and disposal of waste regulations May 88 This circular draws attention to the Control of Pollution Act 1974 (Commencement No. 19) and the Collection and Disposal of Waste Regulations, 1988. Circulars
Circular 14/90: Electricity generating stations and overhead lines Sep 90 This circular gives advice about the procedure for obtaining the views of local planning authorities in certain cases. Circulars
Circular: 15/91 Comp and C/Purch Sep 91 This circular describes the provisions of part three and section 80 of the Planning and Compensation Act, 1991. Circulars
Circular 15/97: Air Quality Dec 97 This circular and accompanying guidance notes promote a corporate approach to the issue of local air quality of relevance to a range of local authority departments. Circulars
Circular 17/89: Landfill sites: Development control Jul 89 This circular gives advice to local authorities about their use of planning powers in relation to landfill sites which may be generating harmful gases. Circulars
Circular 18/94: Gypsy Sites Policy and Unauthorised Camping Nov 94 This circular offers guidance on the provisions in sections 77 to 80 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which affect gypsies and unauthorised campers. Circulars
Circular 20/87: Use of waste material for road fill Aug 87 This circular reports the government's decision on continuing the experimental procedures aimed at increasing the use of waste material as bulk fill in road works. Circulars
Circular 23/83: Caravan sites Sep 83 This circular sets out Revised Model Standards for licensed caravan sites, clarifying the distinction between sites for touring caravans and those for static, or predominantly static, caravans. Circulars
Circular 25/73: Post Office Mar 73 This circular introduces a copy of the Post Office Operational Land Regulations 1973. Circulars
Circular 28/87: Opencast coal mining Dec 87 This circular explains the new statutory provisions relating to opencast coal. Circulars
Circular 29/92: Indicative forestry strategies Dec 92 This circular provides guidance to county councils, metropolitan districts, outer London boroughs and national park authorities who may be considering the preparation of indicative strategies for the creation of new woodlands and forests. Circulars
Circular 99/90: Hazardous Subs Jan 90 This circular explains the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990. That Act requires hazardous substances consent to be obtained for the presence of amounts above the controlled quantity. Circulars
A Guide for Appellants (Tree Preservation Orders - consents for works) Mar 13 This guidance is issued by the Planning Inspectorate and explains how and when an appeal must be made, and how it will be dealt with. Good Practice Guides
A Practical Guide to the SEA Directive Sep 05 Practical guidance, published in September 2005, on applying European Directive 2001/42/EC "on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment". Good Practice Guides
Annual Monitoring Report (AMR): FAQs and Emerging Best Practice 2004-05 Sep 05 Guidance issued to amplify the Local Development Framework Monitoring: A Good Practice Guide, published in March 2005. Good Practice Guides
Guidance on associated development: Applications to the Infrastructure Planning Commission Sep 09 This note provides guidance on dealing with associated development for applications for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) made under the Planning Act 2008. Good Practice Guides
Circular 04/10: Compulsory Purchase and the Crichel Down Rules Mar 10 This circular sets out the type of considerations the HCA should take into account before submitting a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to the Secretary of State for confirmation, Circulars
Circular 08/09: Handling Heritage Applications Nov 09 Local planning authorities are required, at present, to notify the Secretary of State, English Heritage and the National Amenity Societies of applications for listed building consent. Circulars
Community involvement in Planning Feb 04 This paper sets out the importance of greater community involvement in planning Good Practice Guides
Compulsory purchase and compensation booklets Oct 04 A series of five booklets which explain, in simple terms, how the compulsory purchase system works. Good Practice Guides
Designing Gypsy and Traveller Sites: Good Practice Guide May 08 This document sets out good practice in respect of the design of Gypsy and Traveller sites. Good Practice Guides
Diversity and Equality in Planning - A good practice guide Jan 05 Consideration of diversity should be at the heart of planning activities. That is the key message in this good practice guide which shows how planners can take account of the planning needs of a diverse population in their policies and practices. Good Practice Guides
Guide to Effective Use of Enforcement Powers - Part 2: Unauthorised Development of Caravan Sites Oct 07 This guide provides an overview of how the enforcement system can be used to prevent the stationing of caravans on land in breach of planning control. Good Practice Guides
Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessments: Guidance Oct 07 The guidance aims to provide advice on carrying out an assessment of the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers. Good Practice Guides
Infrastructure planning - How will it work? How can I have my say? Sep 09 This booklet explains in simple terms the new planning regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects, the role of National Policy Statements and the opportunities for members of the public to get involved. Good Practice Guides
Streamlining listed building consent: Lessons from the use of management agreements Sep 06 This report is the outcome of a study of the use and effectiveness of listed building management guidelines, as defined in the English Heritage guidance note 'Developing guidelines for the management of listed buildings'. Good Practice Guides
Local Development Framework Monitoring: A Good Practice Guide Oct 04 The Guide aims to explain how the local development framework monitoring requirements can be achieved by local planning authorities. Good Practice Guides
Local authorities and Gypsies and Travellers: a guide to responsibilities and powers May 07 This booklet sets out what needs to be done to ensure more effective enforcement, alongside the provision of more authorised sites. Good Practice Guides
Looking after our town centres Apr 09 This short guide provides step-by step guidance on developing and managing a town-centre partnership. Good Practice Guides
MMG 1 Jul 02 This Note provides a statement of the government's policies on the extraction of marine sand and gravel and other minerals from the English seabed. MMG, MPS & MPG
MMG 2 Jul 02 This Note provides a statement of the government's policies on the extraction of marine sand and gravel and other minerals from the English seabed. MMG, MPS & MPG
Manual for Streets Mar 07 The Manual for Streets is a joint publication produced by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Communities and Local Government. Good Practice Guides
MPG 15: Provision of Silica Sand in England Sep 96 This MPG addresses the extraction of silica sand (also known as 'industrial sand') which contains a high proportion of silica and is a scarce resource not directly used in construction, but which is vital to the glass and foundry casting industries. MMG, MPS & MPG
Fees for monitoring of mining and landfill sites in England: A guide to implementation and good practice Apr 06 This guidance note has been prepared in order to assist mineral and waste planning authorities and the minerals waste industry implement a new fees regime, which came into force on 6 April 2006. Good Practice Guides
Mobile phone network development: Code of best practice Nov 02 This Code of Best Practice, produced jointly by representatives of central and local government and the mobile phone industry, builds on Government guidance and operators’ commitments. Good Practice Guides
Model planning obligation (section 106) agreement Jun 10 This is a model section 106 agreement for use by all parties involved in the planning obligations process. Good Practice Guides
National and Regional Aggregates Guidelines for Aggregates in England 2005-2020 Jun 09 This note sets out revised national and regional guidelines for aggregates provision in England for the period 2005 to 2020 inclusive. Good Practice Guides
Planning Act 2008: Nationally significant infrastructure projects – Application form guidance Sep 08 This note provides guidance on completing application forms for nationally significant infrastructure projects, under the Planning Act 2008. Good Practice Guides
Outdoor advertisements and signs: A guide for advertisers Jun 07 This guide aims to explain to those wanting to display an outdoor advertisement how the system of advertisement control works in England. Good Practice Guides
Guidance on the permeable surfacing of front gardens May 09 This document provides options for householders to pave their front garden with hardstanding without needing planning permission. Good Practice Guides
Planning for Renewable Energy: A Companion Guide to PPS22 Dec 04 This guide offers practical advice as to how policies in PPS22 Renewable Energy can be implemented on the ground. Good Practice Guides
Principles of Selection for Listing Buildings Mar 10 General principles applied by the Secretary of State when deciding whether a building is of special architectural or historic interest. Good Practice Guides
Planning Partnership guide to speed up new large scale developments Jun 08 This 'step by step guide' sets out a logical process for identifying what should be done, when and by whom to reduce problems and speed up new major developments through the planning system. Good Practice Guides
The Code for Sustainable Homes: Case Studies Mar 09 These case studies identify the different ways of achieving up to Code level five of the Code for Sustainable Homes. Good Practice Guides
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Section 215: Best Practice Guidance Jan 05 Advice for local planning authorities (LPAs) on how to make the best use of their powers to take steps requiring land to be cleaned up when its condition harmfully affects the amenity of the area. Good Practice Guides