Matters for Local Authorities 2018-03-19T08:56:21+00:00

Matters for Local Authorities

When should a Local Authority Planning Department ask for Daylight and Sunlight Tests?

The Sunlight and Daylight Tests can be applied to:

  • Proposed new buildings to confirm whether the proposed building and external spaces would receive adequate daylight and sunlight (a ‘Within’ assessment)
  • Existing buildings and external spaces which would be affected by a proposed development (a ‘Neighbouring Assessment’), or

  • Existing potential development land which might be affected by a proposed development on a neighbouring site

The BRE guidance includes various initial ‘rule of thumb’ tests which should be used to determine whether there is a risk that the development itself or neighbours to it might be at risk of receiving inadequate natural light. Failure of these initial assessments would be the trigger for a Local Authority to ask the developer for a more detailed full consideration of the potential effects of a development in respect of daylight and sunlight. Normally, this more detailed assessment would involve 3D CAD modelling and the use of specialist software.

Some common misconceptions include Councils who request the Daylight and Sunlight Tests for all proposed 2-storey (or taller) developments within 2m of the boundary. This is an example of an incorrect approach which could lead to the request for such assessments when this is not necessary or, conversely, failure to ask for the Daylight and Sunlight tests when they should be requested from the developer.

It should be borne in mind that, potentially, inadequate consideration of these Daylight & Sunlight Tests in respect of an application for planning permission could leave a planning permission open to the risk of legal action by means of a Judicial Review.

CPD Seminars

We provide CPD seminars to Local Authorities on the use of tests for considering Daylight and Sunlight as part of the planning process. These talks focus on the leading industry document “Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight – A Guide to Good Practice, 2nd Edition by Paul Littlefair”, more commonly known by its old title, “BRE 209”.

The presentation lasts for approximately 1 hour, and certificates for attendance to demonstrate Continuing Profession Development (CPD) are provided after the event.

The talk also seeks to illustrate the legal problems associated with the easement of light, more commonly known as Rights of Light, and how often a planning decision can lead on to a legal right of light problem.

The talk covers:

Daylight and Sunlight for Planning:

  • Introduction to “Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight – A Guide to Good Practice, 2nd Edition by Paul Littlefair” (BRE 209)
  • Rules of Thumb tests – when to use and how
  • Which rooms to assess and which to exclude
  • Differences between planning requirements, and legal right to light matters.
  • Judicial Review
  • Case Studies

Right of Light:

  • What is a Right of Light and how is one acquired?
  • How a Right of Light are assessed
  • What a remedy might be if a legal injury occurs (injunction v compensation)
  • How compensation can be calculated
  • Case Studies

Book a Seminar

If you would be interested in a talk for your Planning Officers, please complete the form.

We would be interested in booking a CPD SeminarPlease choose the nearest office to where your enquiry relates (required).

Your enquiry is best suited to our Associate company, Right of Light Consulting, who cover your geographical area. Are you happy for us to forward your details to them?

I am happy for you to forward my details to Right of Light Consulting for them to progress my enquiry.Yes

“Adrian – thanks for coming in, the feedback I’ve had from officers is that they found the session really helpful and easy to understand – and very important for planners!”
Niall Casselden, Planning Team Manager, Cheshire West and Chester Council
“Adrian, thank you so much for the training today – feedback has been very positive and I for one found it very interesting”
Joanne Munton, Planning Officer, Gateshead Council
“Very good presentation, informative and helpful.”
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