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Last edited 11 Oct 2015
Deemed discharge of planning conditions
The Queen’s Speech on 4 June 2014 announced that an Infrastructure Bill would be introduced in the 2014-15 Parliamentary session. Amongst other provisions, the Bill would allow certain types of planning conditions in England to be discharged upon application if a local planning authority has not notified the developer of their decision within a prescribed time period.
This would mean that the local planning authority’s consent, agreement or approval of the condition would be deemed to have been given even if it did not have actual written approval. This is intended to improve the use of planning conditions and enable development to start more quickly after planning permission is granted. A deemed discharge would only apply to planning conditions that are attached to planning permission when it is granted that require the further approval of the local planning authority on matters of detail.
On 4 November 2014, the government announced that it would proceed with the introduction of measures allowing the deemed discharge of planning conditions. This followed a technical consultation on a range of proposals to streamline the planning system carried out between 31 July 2014 and 29 September 2014 which included consultation on the procedural detail of the deemed discharge measure.
The consultation proposed that deemed discharge would not apply automatically, but only after the applicant serves a notice on the local planning authority. It was proposed that the applicant should notify the local authority of its intention to activate a deemed discharge after a period of 6 weeks with a minimum notice period of 2 weeks.
The outcome of the consultation Deemed discharge of planning conditions: government response to consultation found that the proposed measure was broadly supported. However, there was some concern about the burden it would place on local authorities, with local authorities citing delays caused by third parties and resource constraints as reasons for delays. There was also a suggestion that the measure could divert focus from other planning priorities.
Nonetheless, the government confirmed its intention to introduce supporting secondary legislation on the procedural detail of a deemed discharge once the primary power is confirmed, with the following exemptions:
- Conditions attached to development subject to an environmental impact assessment.
- Conditions attached to development likely to have a significant effect on a qualifying European site.
- Conditions designed to manage flood risk.
- Conditions that require an agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (planning obligations) or Section 278 of the Highways Act (works to existing highways).
- Conditions requiring the approval of details for outline planning permissions required by reserved matters.
- Conditions relating to the investigation and remediation of contaminated land.
- Conditions relating to highway safety.
- Conditions relating to Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
- Conditions relating to investigation of archaeological potential
On 8 December 2014, during the second reading debate on the Infrastructure Bill, Transport Minister John Hayes suggested that planning conditions that conform with national planning policy might be exempt from the deemed discharge regime. Ref Parliament, Infrastructure Bill.
In April 2015, deemed discharge of planning conditions was introduced into the Town and County Planning Act 1990 by the Infrastructure Act 2015. Details of the provisions are set out in the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) Order 2015.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Community infrastructure levy.
- Contaminated land.
- Development consent order.
- Development Management Procedure Order.
- Discharge of planning conditions.
- Environmental impact assessment.
- Outline planning application.
- Planning appeal.
- Planning permission.
- Planning conditions.
- Planning obligations (section 106 agreement).
- Reserved matters.
- Section 278 agreement.
- Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
 External references
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