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Planning Consultants

 Southwest Environmental, acting as planning consultants, can manage the entire planning application on your behalf, using or expert knowledge to make sure you:

The Planning Consultancy Service We Provide

The service we provide can potentially be supplied on a fixed price basis. We take no satisfaction in stringing out the process, and charging an hourly fee in the process. We can help you decide the best possible route from the outset.

Step 1 - Site Selection

If you are still looking for a site to buy we can help steer you to a site that will be easier to obtain planning permission. We have researched feasibility of site for many years in relation to residential developments and commercial developments.

Step 2 - Listen to Your Requirements

During this stage we will look at the size of your site, and what it suitable uses might be. It pays to pick your "battles". If a site is unlikely to successfully obtain planning permission for housing, then we would advise to try for something else. Planning is difficult enough as it is.

We would look at the site that you have in mind and advise on the number of units, or the size of units that you might conceivable fit on to the site. This initial work not only takes in to consideration the houses and access roads, but the myriad of other features that modern developments incorporate:

You need to know the reuirements for all of the above prior to your first attempts at drawing the site's layout!

Step 3 - Produce Design & Draw Plans

We work with a a number of contractors who turn our sketches in to CAD Drawings. We can pick a contractor based on the type of the development. A smaller development will require only the most basic of drawings, and contrary to popular belief even large "flashy" projects do not require flashy (expensive) drawings. A basic set of plans for a planning application will include the following:

These plans can be simple (black and white line drawings) or full colour with photo like texture. But both will work just fine.

Step 4 - Submit Application

Again following our principal of honesty, we do not "guess" as to what supporting documents will be required. Most planning authorities publish a "validation check list". These are long lists, and you will almost certainly not need all of the reports listed.

Our approach is to submit the planning application, and then see what we are asked for. It is very seldom the full list. We can source nearly any combination of report (most of which are written in house) and keep planning application process moving, with minimum cost to you the client.

Step 5 - Reporting

We will be able to advise you of what reports you will likley require prior to planning, but we will not undertake work unnecessarily.

A good place to start if you would like to see how complicated a potential planning application might be is DEFRA's Magic which is a free GIS based web tool, that allows you to find land designations such as SSSIs and National Parks. Obviously if your application site is close proximity or within designated areas such as identified habitats then this may result in the need for a habitat survey, although with issues such as Nutrient Neutrality you can be a long way from a SSSI and still have it complicate you planning application.

Another good place to check is the Environment Agencies flood risk map, this will tell you whether you are in flood risk zone, that warrants further reporting. Zone 1 is generally OK (below certain sizes), but Flood Risk Zones 2 and 3 will generally require the preparation of a flood risk report, to accompany your planning application. Other reports that can be requested by the Local Planning Authority (Find Yours), may include;

Step 6 - Conditions

When hopefully your planning application is granted, it would be great to start building straight away. But often planning approvals will have a long list of conditions.

Step 7 - Appeal

An appeal is certainly not something to aim for. But they can be used to to good affect, this work particularly well when you can use specialist knowledge to challenge a piece of planning policy that is outdated, or has been misinterpreted.

What Planning Use Type do I need for a Waste Activity?

If you are running a waste exemption such as a T1 or S2, then whether planning permission is required should be checked with your LPA. If you are planning on running a fairly large waste operation such as a composting site, or an inert landfill then it is likely you will require planning permission to match your environmental permit.

A good thing to look out for when choosing a site for a waste operation is the general business uses such as B1, B2, B8 etc. By checking with the Environment Agency it is possible that planning permission will not be needed.

Frequently Asked Planning Consultancy Questions

Is it necessary to have a pre-application meeting with a Planning Officer?

What Planning Use Type do I need for a waste activity?

What is a Planning Design and Access Statement?

Will the planning application be determined at Local or County Level?

What Planning Use Type do I need for an Industrial Process Activity?

What supporting documents will I need for my planning application?

Do I have to wait for planning permission before starting an Environmental Permit Application with the EA?

Case Studies

Case Study - Inert Waste Recovery Planning Application

Building Regulations Application

Planning Application for Battery Storage Facility


Why You Should Never be Pushy with a Planning Officer

Permitted Development Applications

Retrospective Planning Applications

What Planning Use Type do I need for an Industrial Process Activity?

A good thing to look out for when choosing a site for a industrial process activity is the general business uses such as B1, B2, B8 etc. By checking with the Environment Agency it is possible that planning permission will not be needed.

For example a business remanufacturing plastics items from recycled plastic pellets may well not need planning permission if one of the above established use classes is in place.

Do I have to wait for planning permission before starting an Environmental Permit Application with the EA?

No. But you would be wise to make background checks before you proceed. Permit applications and planning applications can be run in tandem, to save time.

Retrospective Planning Applications  

Retrospective planning permission is when you apply for planning permission after you have completed the build / alterations. The chances of getting planning permission are jus the same as pre-emptive planning applications, but of course if planning is not granted then you will have to undo what you have done. Which could work out very expensive.

A retrospective application also demonstrates to the planning authority that you have not followed the correct course, and in some cases we feel that planning officers may consider this an affront to their authority (whether right or wrong).  

Case Study - Inert Waste Recovery Planning Application  

SWEL undertook a planning application for a large landscaping bund (a waste recovery operation), there were various supporting document required including visual impact assessment and transport assessments, design and access and flood risk.

A major sticking point for particular application was the volume of traffic generated by the proposed development. In conclusion SWEL were able to satisfactorily prove a 2.5% increase in HGV traffic on the local highway which was deemed as minor increase by the determining planning authority.

What is a Design and Access Statement

A design and access (DAS) statement is a short report accompanying and supporting a planning application. They provide a framework for applicants to explain how a proposed development is a suitable response to the site and its setting, and demonstrate that it can be adequately accessed by prospective users.


Environmental Permit Consultants Bristol

Environmental Permit Consultants Exeter

Environmental Permit Consultants London

S.D. Content

Planning Consultants

Bristol - 01173 270 092

Exeter - 01398 331 258

London - 02076 920 670