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Biodiversity and sustainability ''foundation stones in planning process''

Cabinet councillors have today (June 10) moved to streamline the process of validating a planning application in Lewes district, while also putting the onus on applicants to evidence how developments will fulfil sustainability in construction requirements and enhancements in biodiversity.

The council's planning local validation list will now be published on the council's website, alongside a commitment that anyone considering submitting an application can engage with the planning team from the outset for guidance on what evidence they need to include.

Councillor Emily O'Brien, Cabinet member for Planning, said: "I wanted this process to result in a more transparent planning system that is an aide to applicants, not a hindrance, and we've certainly achieved that. Applications that are now supported by the evidence we're asking for should result in fewer conditions at the end of the application process and a prompt start on site, which is good news for everyone.

"And for the avoidance of any doubt, this does not affect small scale domestic developments, such as an extension on a family home. Above all, these changes establish biodiversity and sustainability as foundation stones in the planning process and these are instrumental in our work to become carbon net zero by 2030. Let us not forget, construction, demolition and excavation waste accounts for 51% of the 1.7 million tonnes of solid waste generated in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove each year, this has to change."

Importantly, the level of information required will be proportionate with the scale and type of application.

Councillor O'Brien added: "Our planning officers are here to help and will guide applicants on what is needed. We are not asking for reams and reams of form filling, quite the opposite, we just want the salient and relevant evidence from the outset that will expedite the whole process."

To view the local validation list visit