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Validation updates

Biodiversity Net Gain in Cornwall

New Biodiversity Net Gain guidance page launched for information and guidance.

Mandatory BNG is subject to national minimum requirements.  Cornwall Council continues to apply some local validation requirements for a BNG statement.  The Validation Guide has been updated to reflect these changes.  

Please consider if the exemption applies carefully and include a reason why the exemption applies on the form.  Planning are receiving a number of applications with the exemption ‘de minimus’ and no further explanation.  Where the reason for exemption is unclear a justification statement will be requested.  Should it be found during the process that the exemption has not been applied correctly the application will be invalidated and the mandatory biodiversity net gain national information requirements will be requested.

It is important to consider BNG carefully at the pre-application stage to avoid any delays during the planning process.

Please see the Government Guidance Biodiversity net gain: exempt developments for further information.

Updated Validation Guide

The Validation Guide has been updated to version 1.7.  The Validation Guide can be found on the 'Make a Planning Application' web page.  A schedule of changes to the guide can be found in this table of Validation guide updates.

To ensure you are viewing the most up to date version, please open the document and do a hard refresh of your browser.

Removal of Free Go

On 06/12/2023 new statutory planning fees have been introduced at the same time the ability to submit a free so on relevant submissions has been removed.  This has raised a number of queries.  Please see the below clarification:

  • Applications submitted before 6 December 2023 and are not determined before the said date would not benefit from a free go. 
  • Applications determined or withdrawn before 6 December will still benefit from a free go subject to the normal criteria. 
  • If the application is withdrawn the applicant has 12 months from the validation date to submit a free go, if the application was withdrawn prior to the 6 December 2023.
  • If the application was refused the applicant has 12 months from the date the application was refused, if it is refused prior to 6 December 2023.
  • The update does not refer to applications approved and therefore the free go no longer applies to application which are approved regardless if it was approved prior to 6 December 2023.

Planning Fee Increase – Statutory and Non-Statutory Fees

 Please see the below advanced notice of changes to planning fees: 

Statutory Planning Fees

 The Government have released information regarding the changes to planning fees.  These fees an be viewed here: The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 ( and will apply to any application received on or after 6 December 2023.

Our Fees and Charges Document has been updated.

Non-Statutory Planning  Fees

Cornwall Council’s Planning Department will be increasing its non-statutory fees by at least 6% on the 1 January 2024.  A revised schedule of fees will be available on this date and will apply on any requests received on or after 1 January 2024.

New Ecology Trigger Lists Launched

Based on feedback from applicants, agents and other interested parties the ecology trigger list has been updated.  Please see the below important information:

  • The new trigger lists can be used from 1 November 2023.
  • Two trigger lists (one for householder and one for minor/other developments) have been produced.
  • There is a guidance note for major applications.
  • The new trigger lists amends and adds clarity to when a survey is required.
  • The need for a survey on householder applications has been reduced.
  • The previous version of the trigger list will be accepted until 15 November 2023.
  • If you have an application currently invalid with us for a survey and one would no longer be required under the new requirements, please contact the Validation Officer with a completed new trigger list.

We have also published a new Ecological Survey Calendar.  The calendar as well as the above trigger lists can be found on the Make a Planning Application page under ‘Download forms’ and ‘Ecology Checklist and Trigger Lists’

Updated Energy Summary Tool

We have now launched Version 2 of the Energy Summary Tool.  Version 2 of the SAP Energy Summary Tool offers a number of improvements including: 

  • it can be used by more developments: any number of storeys/all house types, up to 25 units (of which up to 9 may be flats)
  • it is quicker and easier to use (does not require energy expertise / architects may find it useful to test options)
  • ability to factor in a secondary heating source where proposed.

We will accept version 1 up to 30th November 2023.

For further information please visit the Planning Policy Guidance page.

New Validation Requirements - Climate Emergency DPD

Planning has been asked on numerous occasions why we are requesting information with Planning Applications.

Cornwall declared a climate emergency in 2019. Recognising that all services across the Council would have a part to play. New planning policies are a step towards improving Cornwall’s housing and infrastructure. Helping to plan for a Cornwall that our children and grandchildren can live, work and thrive in.

This plan impacts how places grow and change, whilst sitting alongside Government legislation. The policies will help to protect and shape the future of Cornwall by adding detail to the Cornwall Local Plan (2016). The aim is to address the impacts of climate change with flexible policies that can keep up with changes in technology.

National Planning Guidance supports the move to a low carbon economy. It encourages energy reduction, renewable energy and reusing existing resources.  The need to address Climate Change is urgent and remains a priority for the Council.  The DPD supports the Cornwall Local Plan. It gives additional powers to help protect our environment by:

  • reducing carbon
  • encouraging an eco-friendly approach to:
    • building
    • transport
    • land use
    • energy production

New Householder and Minor Extension Flood Risk Assessment Form and Guidance

Planning along with the Lead Local Flood Authority have produced a new householder and minor extension flood risk assessment form along with guidance.  Please use this template for householder and minor extensions where the site lies in a Critical Drainage Area of a flood risk area. 

For more complex development you should employ a suitably qualified professional to prepare a flood risk assessment.

The form and guidance is available on the 'Make a Planning Application web page' under 'Download forms' and 'Other useful forms and documents'.

Visit the make a planning application web page

New Heritage Statement Template

Cornwall Council have produced a new Heritage Assessment template. It helps planning applicants and agents provide the necessary information where a Heritage Statement is required. 

The template can be found on our make a planning application web page, under download forms – Other useful forms and documents.

View the make a planning application web page

Scaling From Plans

'Do Not Scale'

We have found it increasingly difficult to ensure plans are submitted to scale.  Applicants and agents must ensure plans are submitted at the correct scale as indicated on the plan.

The National Guidance states that plans must be to scale. (If the plans have ‘do not scale’ on them it is considered that the Planning Authority cannot scale from them. Therefore they are not to scale).  We have found by trying to be flexible with the wording we are receiving a high number of various connotations. This is causing delays and increased invalidity reasons. 

From the 1 June we only accept 'do not scale for construction purposes' with the do not scale wording.  All other variations using do not scale will not be accepted.

Possible alternatives include: 

  • Contractors must check all dimensions and only work from figured dimensions.
  • All dimensions must be checked on site and not scaled from this drawing for construction purposes.

We have sought guidance from other Authorities (including Plymouth City Council, East Devon and Mid Devon District Council) and have found that the majority of them will not accept plans if they have any reference to do not scale on them.

Scale Bars

From the 1st June scale bars are required on plans and this is part of the validation criteria on the validation document.  This is not only for the validation process but also to aid consultees and interested parties when viewing plans online.

  • Scale bars are not required on the location plan or block plan.  They will also not be required on supporting plans within documents.  The scale bars are required on elevations, floor plans and other plans we are required to scale from.
  • A scale bar must be indicated on all plans (excluding location and block plans).
  • We require a scale bar for each of the scale ratios indicated on the plan.
  • This applies to all application types where scaled plans are required.
  • We can invalidate applications for scale bars.

Fire Statements

Planning Gateway One Fire Statement is a national validation requirement.  It ensures fire safety matters are included at planning stage.

You must submit a Fire Statement for all applications involving one or more relevant buildings.  These are buildings which: 

  • contain 2 or more dwellings or
  • educational accommodation and
  • meet the height condition: 18m or more or 7 or more storeys.

"Dwellings" includes flats.  "Educational accommodation" means residential accommodation for: 

  • boarding students
  • students at a boarding school
  • students in later stages of education.

You can find more information on Article 9A(9) Town & Country Planning Development Management (England) Procedure Order 2015 (as amended by article 4 of the 2021 Order) on the Government Legislation website.

Visit the Government legislation websiteYou must submit fire statements on a form published by the Secretary of State.

View the Fire Statement forms and templates on GOV.UKYou must include information on: 

  • the principles, concept and approach relating to fire safety.  This is for each building in the development.
  • the site layout
  • emergency vehicle access and water supplies for firefighting purposes.  Cornwall Council guidance published on 'Additional Development Guidance' webpage.
  • what, if any, consultation you have done on fire safety issues. How have you considered responses.
  • how you have considered any fire safety policies in relevant local development documents.

This is not an exhaustive list.

View the additional development guidance page

Please note: "Relevant building" under planning legislation is different to the Building Safety Act (BSA).   The BSA refers to a "relevant building" as being 11m or 5 storeys.  The BSA calls 18m or 7 storey buildings "High Risk buildings".

You can find further guidance on Planning Gateway One requirements at: 


Submitting an application via the Planning Portal

If you have submitted your planning application via the Planning Portal, please pay the Planning Portal direct. Without this payment the Planning Portal will not release your planning application to the Council.  Cornwall Council is unable to transfer payments onto the Planning Portal. The Council must refund the original payee which will delay your application.  

The Planning Portal is a separate private company.  Should you have any queries please email

Submitting an application to Cornwall Council

If you submit an application by email to Cornwall Council, please pay online.

Pay onlineYou can pay:

  • Planning applications fees and
  • other fees

by phone by calling 0300 1234 151. 

If you pay by phone, please email to advise that you have paid to help reduce delays.

Non-Material Amendments (NMAs)

Please see the Revisions and amendments to planning applications web page for advice and guidance.  Applicants/agents should consider if the proposed change meets the criteria set out on this page prior to submission.

Revisions and amendments to planning applications

Nutrient Neutrality Principles and Phosphate Calculator

We have updated the local Validation list for new interim Guidelines - small scale thresholds and nutrient neutrality principles

You can find more information on the interim guidelines below.

Small scale thresholds and nutrient neutrality interim guidelinesIf you wish to rely on these guidelines, please provide an assessment setting out how the development accords with conditions a) to h).  Assessments should be done by a competent person with the relevant experience. 

We have further updated the Validation Guide with requirements following the launch of our phosphates calculator on 21 October.

View the Validation Guide

Use the phosphates calculator

You will also need to submit a nutrient neutrality statement with the calculator results.  This statement should include:

  • Location of the development in relation to the Camel catchment
  • Details of the proposed application
  • Details of the current land use (please show where there is a difference in land use over the last 10 years)
  • Justification of the proposed land use and number of dwellings
  • Details of the phosphate budget calculation including a table of key findings
  • Details of any mitigation if appropriate

Areas currently under Countryside or Stewardship Agreements cannot be proposed for mitigation. 

You can find this information on the MAGIC Defra website.

MAGIC interactive mapping

Areas proposed for mitigation must not impact on the notified feature of the SSSI.

The completion of the calculator and nutrient neutrality statement should be done by a competent person with relevant experience.

View the phosphates flowchartOrdnance Survey (OS) and Cornwall Council Mapping

Planning are receiving an increasing number of plans taken from interactive mapping on the Cornwall Council website.

Unfortunately we unable to accept these plans as it:
  • infringes the OS copyright licence; and
  • Cornwall Council’s website terms of use.

Submitting these copyright plans for professional purposes such as submitting a planning application, published in the public domain, infringes the copyright.

All plans based on OS mapping must display an OS licence and the source if taken from another website.

You can obtain site plans from the Planning Portal using the buy a plan service.

Buy a Plan Service

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