Consulting on neighbourhood plans and development orders
Find out which environmental agencies you need to consult about your neighbourhood plan, development orders or community right to build order.
The content on this page is in beta and may be updated frequently.
This guide is for:
- town and parish councils
- community organisations
- neighbourhood forums
It explains when you need to consult environmental agencies about:
- neighbourhood plans
- neighbourhood development orders (NDO)
- community right to build orders (CRTBO)
Natural England and the Environment Agency must be consulted about:
- any plans or orders that may affect the environment
- strategic environmental assessments for neighbourhood plans
- NDOs and CRTBOs in certain circumstances (as set out below) including - if your proposal includes development that needs an environmental impact assessment
You should allow any agencies you consult at least 6 weeks to provide a response.
Check with your local planning authority (LPA) if you’re unsure which agencies to consult after reading this guide. See also the neighbourhood planning guidance.
You can get free geographic information on your local environment to help you prepare your neighbourhood plan or order.
You must consult Natural England if the plan:
- is in or likely to affect a site of special scientific interest (SSSI)
- is likely to affect European protected sites eg special area of conservation (SAC), special protection area (SPA) or Ramsar wetland
- will impact on:
- marine protected areas
- protected landscapes (national parks, Norfolk and Suffolk Broads and areas of outstanding natural beauty)
- will affect the best and most versatile agricultural land
NDOs or CRTBOs
You must consult Natural England if the order:
- is in or likely to affect a SSSI
- will involve the loss of more than 20 hectares of the best and most versatile agricultural land - you can find the classification of the land using the MAGIC map system
Protected species, sites and areas
You can get free information online about the following protected sites eg SSSIs, and areas eg national parks.
Use the Magic map system to see if the planning proposals affect a protected area or site. Select the ‘designations’ category in the table of contents and use the map search to show the location of the proposed development on the map.
For national parks or areas of outstanding natural beauty:
- select the ‘land-based designations’ and ‘statutory’ options
- tick the relevant designation
For SSSIs, SPAs, SACs or Ramsar wetlands:
- select the ‘land-based designations’ and statutory options
- tick the ‘SSSI impact risk zones’ option (you can download the impact risk zone data for your own software)
For marine protected areas:
- select the ‘marine designations’ and ‘statutory’ options
- tick the relevant marine option
Find out more information by selecting the ‘i’ icon at the top of the screen and clicking on the location of the planning proposals on the map.
You can also get advice from Natural England about:
- construction near protected areas
- planning and protected sites and species
- European protected species - you might need to apply for a wildlife licence to carry out your proposal
- ancient woodland
Consult Natural England
Natural England consultation service
Crewe Business Park
You must consult the Environment Agency if the plan or order:
- land in flood zones 2 and 3
- land in flood zone 1 with critical drainage problems where the Environment Agency have informed the local planning authority
- a building that will be used to handle, produce, use or store dangerous substances, or is within the area considered at risk if a major accident should happen there
- could affect:
- main rivers
- water quality
- could contaminate land or includes land affected by contamination
- covers intensive pig, poultry or dairy units
You can get free online advice from the Environment Agency. You may need to pay for some information if the issues raised by your plan or order are more complicated.
Consult the Environment Agency
PO Box 544
Read the standing advice for development that may impact on ancient woodland or veteran trees.
Marine Management Organisation
You must consult the Marine Management Organisation if you consider their interests will be affected. They’ll want to be consulted if the plan is on the coast (eg it involves slipways, jetties and dredging).