There are four Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) who are responsible for planning applications within the South Devon National Landscape boundary; South Hams District Council, Torbay Council, Plymouth City Council and Devon County Council. It is these organisations that create the planning policies that apply to the National Landscape, and also determine planning permissions within the National Landscape. If you have any concerns or questions regarding planning policy or a planning application, you should contact your Local Planning Authority for advice and guidance.
Comments submitted by the National Landscape team are available to view on the Councils websites
Whilst the South Devon National Landscape Partnership is a non-statutory consultee with regard to planning policies and decisions, it does influence the planning process in the following ways:
Planning applications in the National Landscape do not have to be judged differently from those outside; national planning policy requires that conserving and enhancing natural beauty must be given great weight in National Landscapes.
The National Landscape is a protected landscape, and as such your proposal will need to adhere to local planning policy and not detract from the natural beauty of the National Landscape. To find out more about policies and guidance relevant to your proposal and the likelihood of it being approved contact the relevant local planning authority.
The National Landscape may be a consideration in larger development proposals outside the National Landscape boundary, if the proposals might have a significant impact on the setting of the National Landscape.
The primary purpose of National Landscape designation is to ‘conserve and enhance’ the natural beauty of the landscape. The Government has confirmed that National Landscapes are equivalent in planning status to National Parks, in terms of their landscape quality and scenic beauty.
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 gives LPAs a legal duty to have regard to the conservation and enhancement of the National Landscape in carrying out planning and other functions. This includes any applications assessed at a county or national level, including infrastructure and utilities.
In addition, the statutory National Landscape Management Plan, though not a part of the formal planning system, is a material consideration affecting planning decisions and is a driver for policy change.
Your first point of contact should be the relevant LPA. You may be able to see details and plans for the application on their website or otherwise at their offices. You will also be able to find out what other comments have been made about the application.
The South Devon National Landscape team works alongside LPAs to ensure that our primary aim of ‘protecting and enhancing the natural environment’ is represented in planning policy. Planning Officers give regard to the ‘protected landscape’ status of the National Landscape when considering applications that could have an impact on the National Landscape.
The South Devon National Landscape team is a progressive organisation that wants to see a sustainable future for the area and so may support developments which it feels contribute to a living and working, sustainable landscape.
Your LPA has a duty to consult the public when creating planning strategy and policy. Your LPA will be able to advise you when the next phase of consultations or policy review is expected to happen, and how you can get involved.
You can view a detailed map on the website www.magic.gov.uk run by Natural England on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Navigate to the interactive map and select ‘Rural Designations – Statutory’ and then find an area by searching for a postcode or village, for example. The display changes to 1:25000 and 1:10000 Ordnance Survey mapping by zooming in so an area can be seen in detail. Other statutory datasets can be turned off by clicking on ‘List of Layers’ and un-ticking the boxes of the relevant sets.
Planning Aid – This service is offered by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and offers free, impartial planning advice to individuals and communities.
Neighbourhood Planning – Some valuable information on the process of neighbourhood planning, sources of help and funding can be found on the My Community Rights website.
National Planning Policy, Circulars and Guidance – Information on the latest national planning consultations, guidance, circulars and legislation produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government can be found on the GOV.UK website
Heritage – Information on historic sites and buildings can be found on the Heritage Gateway website or by contacting the Local Planning Authority.
The National Landscape Unit has produced the following guides, copies of which may be downloaded from this page:
If you require these guides in a different format please contact us.
A copy of the planning protocol, first adopted by the South Devon National Landscape Partnership in March 2020 and updated in June 2023, is available to download from this page. If you require a different format please contact us.
The following is a summary of the protocol, showing how the National Landscape Partnership is involved in planning and development control issues.
*As a small staff team with limited resources, there will be occasions when the National Landscape team will be unable to respond to consultation requests due to the range of other projects, activities and casework being undertaken at any time.
The Local Planning Authorities will normally consult the National Landscape Staff team acting on behalf of the South Devon National Landscape Partnership on proposals that meet the following criteria:
*With thanks to, and based upon material shared by, the Cotswolds National Landscape Conservation Board.
With the environmental pressures caused by development only set to increase, the South Devon National Landscape team has produced a guide to encourage and aid the production of considerate and complete Construction Environmental Management Plans.
A Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) is a working document that considers and details how a development will protect, and increasingly conserve and enhance, the environment and mitigate against any potential impacts to the local community and species – particularly during the construction phase.
Some consideration should also be given to how the development might ultimately be most sustainably repurposed, deconstructed and/or recycled.
Ideally, the ethos of the CEMP should carry through the full ‘cradle to grave’ life of any development project with the relevant consideration given from the initial planning and design stages to minimise the project’s environmental footprint, right through to the development’s end use and maintenance.
A CEMP is produced, depending upon the circumstances of the project, by the site developer, owner, or contractor. It can be thought of as the equivalent of a health and safety risk assessment for the surrounding environmental and social landscape into which the development is embedded.
For development in the South Devon National Landscape area, the production of a comprehensive CEMP informs and reassures the National Landscape Partnership, the Local Planning Authorities and local people that you have carefully considered the complete construction process, identified all foreseeable issues and detailed how you will prevent, mitigate and compensate any negative impacts. Where a Marine License is required, the Marine Management Organisation will also be involved.
Importantly, it may help to provide the Local Planning Authority with all the information needed to make an informed decision regarding approval. Indeed, for some developments, the production of an approved CEMP may be required as a condition of approval prior to the commencement of any development on the site, to allow for direct contractor involvement.
The South Devon National Landscape Partnership is committed to adopting a positive approach to the development of renewable energy technologies in the area, while at the same time having regard for the primary statutory purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the area. The Partnership has a Renewable Energy Position Statement, a copy can be downloaded from this page. If you require a different format please contact us.