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.
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:
- Procedural Guide – Planning appeals
- Procedural Guide - Enforcement appeals
- Procedural Guide – Certificate of lawful use or development appeals
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:
- Apply for rule 6 status on an enforcement or lawful development certificate appeal
- Apply for rule 6 status on a planning appeal or called-in application
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.
Please ensure that you check this page regularly and follow our Twitter updates. Our guidance remains as per the July updates below