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Government Policy and Guidance

We set our own local planning policies through our Local Plan. However this plan, as well as our daily practices in determining planning applications, has to be in line with overarching Government policies.

In turn, Parliament has to act in accordance with any European directives and laws that directly influence national planning legislation. Therefore the changes the Government make to the national planning system, including guidance on individual topics within planning, are important to know as a broader framework  which our own planning practices then operate.

Central Government sets primary (Acts of law) and secondary (Orders) legislation from Parliament. These form the legal basis of the planning system and set out what any person can and cannot do without planning permission, what our duties are as the Local Planning Authority, what processes must be followed by all parties involved in planning and what happens when things are challenged.

You do not necessarily need to know this legal background and context in order to make a planning application.

Key Acts

Key Orders


The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is a national policy document that carries weight in the determination of any application. Weight is a term describing how much importance is given to a policy or other factor when deciding planning matters. The document should be read as a whole, and not selectively, as it gives an overarching feel for the principles of what the planning system is trying to achieve.

The Planning Practice Guidance is regularly updated by the Government. It will provide you with more information about specific issues such as flood zones, consultation requirements and planning obligations plus you can receive email alerts to inform you of changes to a topic.

Larger Government changes to the planning system and the way things should be done thereafter are announced through the Department for Communities and Local Government. Before making these changes the Government will consult through published papers which anyone can comment on in order to try and influence the changes before they are made.

Once the consultation responses have been considered, the Government will go on to make any further announcements including the final published changes.