Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Planning Inspectorate guidance - updated 26 November 2021

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and guidance from government, the Planning Inspectorate has published guidance on site visits, hearings, inquiries and events.

Applies to England

We are continuing to review Government advice and what this means for our way of working and our guidance for customers in England. Information for Wales can be found on GOV.Wales.

Current position (26 November)

Last week the Prime Minister and Health Secretary announced a Plan A and Plan B for managing the virus in England during the autumn and winter to manage the impact on the NHS.

Our position on casework arrangements remains unchanged. In summary:

  • hearings and inquiries are being arranged by local planning authorities, order making authorities and others
  • hearings and inquiries are entirely in-person, entirely virtual or a mix of the two
  • where participants (including the inspector) need to present their evidence or participate virtually this will need to be facilitated by the local planning authority or order making authority
  • where in-person elements are planned, the local planning authority, order making authorities and others need to be prepared for the event to be held fully virtually in case pandemic restrictions change

How we will work in the future

We are also undertaking further work on the longer-term, sustained approach to hearings and inquiries. We are currently engaging and consulting with staff, stakeholders and customers about how we should work in the future. We expect both blended (which include in-person elements) and virtual events to be part of our future operating model for events.

One of the key questions we will need to decide on, following research and engagement, is what the balance should be between physical and virtual within and across different case types. The events run by local planning authorities, order making authorities and others from 13 September 2021 will provide us with valuable evidence to help shape our thinking. We expect to be able to share more on the future operating model for events in early 2022.

We will continue to ensure that any further changes will be communicated to affected customers, and we will update our guidance accordingly on this page as and when the situation changes.

Current Guidance

Our current guidance has been updated to reflect the latest changes to coronavirus guidance. Please see the specific casework area guidance documents below.

On 24 November 2020 we updated our procedural guidance on participating in virtual events to reflect the changes brought in by the Business and Planning Act 2020:

On 18 November 2020 we updated the Apply For Rule 6 Status guides to include details of the additional pro bono organisations and a link to the guide to participating in virtual events:

To help us, customers are requested to:

  • Inform us as soon as possible if they are unable to attend, or feel that it is unsafe for an inspector to attend, a site visit for any reason
  • Use the appeals casework portal for new appeals
  • Use the appeals casework portal for making comments on appeals
  • Email/ ring their case officer directly
  • Do not post written correspondence to Temple Quay House if possible – this delays the process

If you have an enquiry, please contact your case officer directly. If you do not have a case officer please contact our customer service team via the contact details available on the Planning Inspectorate homepage.

Detailed guidance

Please ensure that you check this page regularly and follow our Twitter updates. Our guidance remains as per the July updates below

Virtual Events

Planning Appeals

Local Plan Examination


Published 12 March 2020
Last updated 26 November 2021 + show all updates
  1. Additional wording added on our position on casework arrangements.

  2. Local Plan Examination - Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance document updated

  3. Updated guidance published for nationally significant infrastructure project casework

  4. Updated guidance to reflect the Government’s continuing route to relax social distancing restrictions.

  5. The guidance has been updated in the light of the Government’s continuing route to relax social distancing restrictions.

  6. Planning Inspectorate guidance and booklets - updated 17 May 2021

  7. The guidance has been updated in light of the Government’s proposed potential changes to restrictions.

  8. The guidance has been updated in the light of the Government’s announcement on 22 February 2021 on the proposed potential changes to restrictions.

  9. Detailed guidance updated following the Government’s announcement made on 4th January 2021.

  10. We are currently reviewing the guidance below in the light of the Government’s announcement made on 4th January 2021. Any updates will be published on this page.

  11. Guidance updated to reflect changes arising from the introduction of tier 4 restrictions in London and some parts of S E England

  12. Additional links to updated: procedural guidance, apply for rule 6 status guides and virtual events: guide to participating.

  13. Updated guidance documents for all casework types. Updated guidance on page.

  14. Information on Temple Quay House being closed and not sending new appeals/documents via the post, it delays the process and puts our staff at risk.

  15. Message and all associated guidance updated.

  16. Page updated with clarification on sending out paper appeal forms and appeal forms and documents being sent in hard copy to our Bristol and Cardiff offices, which are currently closed.

  17. Wording and all attached guidance updated following the latest Government advice.

  18. Update advice for COVID 19

  19. NSIP Events and Local plan Examination documents updated.

  20. Updated in light of prime minister announcement last night.

  21. Site visits, hearings and inquiries document updated

  22. Updated message about C19

  23. First published.