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Planning Constraints

Flood Risk

Flooding from rivers and coastal waters is a natural process that plays an important role in shaping the natural environment. Flooding can also occur from groundwater, sewers and other non-natural or artificial sources. Flooding from any source can threaten life and cause substantial damage to property. Although flooding cannot be wholly prevented, its impacts can be reduced through good planning and management.

Local planning authorities must have regard to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Planning Practice guidance and regenerating existing ones.  The NPPF ensures flood risk is considered at all stages of the planning and development process from regional plans, to local plans and individual site development. In flood-risk areas, Local planning authorities may have to consult the Environment Agency about development proposals, and in certain locations a flood risk assessment will be necessary.

Contaminated Land

The planning system has a key role to play in addressing the problem of land contamination.  The risks associated with contaminated land are a material planning consideration and are addressed by the planning authority in the preparation of development plans and in the determination of planning applications.  

Many areas of land have become contaminated by the residues left behind by activities such as mining, waste disposal and general industrial processes. There are believed to be between 50,000 and 100,000 potentially contaminated sites within the UK.  Most of these sites do not pose any immediate hazard to human health or the environment but until the contamination is treated the land may be severely restricted in how it may be used.

Where the District Council has identified a piece of contaminated land it will identify who is responsibility for the contamination and agree what works they should do to prevent the contamination causing harm to health or the environment and ensure any development takes account of the contamination.

Certain types of contaminated land, where the contamination tends to be particularly severe or difficult to treat are classed as special sites; these are regulated by the Environment Agency.

Article 4 Directions

Certain types of development can be carried out without the need for planning permission. This is known as permitted development, and covers a wide range of minor developments by householders, farmers and foresters. It also includes developments by statutory undertakers – this term covers a wide variety of public bodies, such as gas and electricity providers, water boards and telecommunications operators.

In some circumstances, local authorities may wish to control the way people can exercise these rights where there is a clear and immediate threat to the amenity of the area. This is done by means of a direction under Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015.  Article 4 directions are sometimes made to cover parts of a conservation area where its character is under threat because of inappropriatebuilding alterations.

Authorities have the power to make directions withdrawing all or any permitted development rights. The Secretary of State must approve or confirm certain types of direction.

Listed Buildings

Buildings may be protected by being included in the Government's 'Lists of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest' (i.e. Listed Buildings) and there are approximately 2,800 of these within the National Park.  Copies of the Lists are held at Parke and can be consulted by appointment.  Copies of the lists are also held in the West Country Studies Library in Exeter, (external link, opens new window),and by District Councils, (external link, opens new window).

You will need Listed Building Consent from the National Park Authority if you wish to demolish or to alter a Listed Building in any way which affects its historic character.  Internal as well as external alterations are also subject to this control.  The object of this tight control is to ensure that the character of historic buildings is not damaged; it is not intended to prevent reasonable alterations provided these are in keeping with the building.  Consent for alterations is more often granted than refused, but since making changes to listed buildings can be a complex matter, it is a good idea to discuss what is intended with an historic buildings officer at an early stage.

For further information see Listed Buildings.

Conservation Areas

Wider protection is often provided by the designation of Conservation Areas in the historic parts of towns and villages and there are currently 25 of these within the Dartmoor National Park.  Administration of the law relating to development within these Conservation Areas lies with the National Park.  

Trees in Conservation Areas are afforded protection.  For further advice see Trees in Conservation Areas.

Protected sites and species

Dartmoor is home to a large number of protected species; furthermore substantial areas of the National Park are legally protected habitats. You will need to ensure that your planning application will not have a negative impact on a protected site or species. For further information and advice see Wildlife and Planning

Tree Preservation Orders

A TPO is made by the Authority to protect specific trees or particular woodland from deliberate damage and destruction.  TPOs prevent the felling, lopping, topping, uprooting or otherwise willful damaging of trees without the permission of the local planning authority.

Once a TPO is made it is usually takes immediate effect, but can be confirmed or terminated at any time up to six months time, with or without modifications.  Modifications can be a change in description or map details, or a removal of certain trees from the order, but cannot include extra trees to be protected - if the Authority wants to add trees to the order as originally made it is usually necessary to make a new Order.  The landowner is still responsible for the trees, their condition and any damage they might cause at all times.

For further advice see Trees and Woodlands.

Page last updated: 15 Apr 2015
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