Many Local Authorities have policies in place to ensure access to daylight and sunlight to neighbouring habitable room windows. They can also check sunlight to the neighbour’s principal garden is not adversely affected by a development.
Even in the absence of such a specific local policy, National Planning Policy stipulates that amenity should be considered in the planning of any development.
In cases where the local councils’ policies are not clear on the issues of Daylight and Sunlight, failure to assess can still lead to conflict. A neighbour may challenge a planning decision if proper consideration has not been given.
The most widely recognised and used document for assessing good Daylight and Sunlight design is “Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight – A Guide to Good Practice, 2nd Edition” by Paul Littlefair. It is a nationally recognised publication, formally known and still widely referred to as BRE 209. Whilst not mandatory, it has been adopted by many design practitioners, planning consultants and Local Authority Planning Departments throughout the UK.
Failure to meet the tests in BRE 209 can cause complications for any proposed extension or build. If you’re deemed to be causing an adverse impact on your neighbour’s home, planning permission can be refused. However, you may be asked to adapt your design to eradicate the harmful effect on your neighbour’s property.
You may be asked to demonstrate that your design will not adversely affect your neighbour(s) by providing a Daylight and Sunlight Assessment to accompany your planning application.
If this does happen, we can help.
Daylight and Sunlight – Things to remember when building an extension or new build
- This is a Town and Country planning issue
- Sunlight and daylight are both considered an amenity of adjacent occupiers, not a right.
- Windows to bathrooms, stores and garages need not be analysed
- The planning officer takes the impact on daylight and sunlight amenity into consideration. However, planning permission may still be granted even if the development affects adjoining occupiers’ amenities.
Rights To Light – Things to remember when building an extension or new build
- Rights to light are an easement, similar to a right of way over a neighbour’s land or building.
- Rights to light are not a planning consideration, and can be enforced even if planning permission is granted.
- Right to light is normally obtained by enjoying the light uninterrupted and without permission for 20 years.
- An ‘adequate’ amount of light is the equivalent of the amount of light one foot away from a candle.
- If the amount of ‘adequate’ light in the room is reduced below 50-55% of the area because of the development, then the loss of light is considered actionable in court.
- Sunlight, artificial lighting, reflected light internally or externally are not considered in the analysis.