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Water Shortages - The Planning Aspects of Reservoirs

Planning permission is required for most reservoirs, although there are some which can be constructed as “permitted development” under planning legislation -  but these would have to be minor in scale.

Obtaining planning permission is becoming more and more time consuming and costly, so it is worthwhile submitting a request for pre-application advice to the Local Authority before undertaking all of the detailed requirements and committing to significant levels of funding.  Pre-application advice can however take some time to complete and the process will need to be monitored by your appointed professional. 

Outline plans for the proposal will need to be submitted at that stage and interested parties such as the Environment Agency will be consulted.  It may be that archaeological and ecological reports will be requested by the local planning authority as part of any subsequent full application.  In the event that the pre-application advice is positive a full planning application should be made and other interests such as those of Natural England and the public will be considered.

Despite reservoirs being seemingly 'environmentally friendly' applicants are finding the process long and cumbersome with difficulties in obtaining a positive outcome.  The risk to ecology and of flooding is of paramount concern and furthermore the risk that if built banks fail; homes and infrastructure may be compromised.  The location of a reservoir is therefore fundamental when considering an application for planning permission. 

The planning process is notoriously complex and stressful. Consequently, appointing a planning professional to manage your case is a must.