Planning Circular 3/2015: Planning controls for hazardous substances

Guidance on the planning procedures around hazardous substances consent, relevant applications for planning permission and planning policies.

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Annex L



L1. Detailed information about hazardous substances, for example where and how they will be present or stored on a site and in what quantities, could be security sensitive and pose a risk to the public if not handled carefully. Planning authorities must ensure arrangements for disclosing such information for all purposes (from the initial notices and wider consultation to enabling public inspection) adequately reflects any potential security concerns.

L2. There are a number of measures planning authorities can put in place so that all relevant information is made available, while also ensuring that access to security sensitive information is handled appropriately. This approach is reflected throughout the guidance, but there are a number of examples:

a) Applicants should provide brief summaries of proposals for inclusion in neighbour notification and public notices, as well as for relevant consultations. This information should allow public participation but without publicising information that is security sensitive. References in such notices and consultations should be to the generic categories of the substances involved. Such notices must include reference to where further information is available (namely hazardous substances registers). See paragraphs D11, D19, D25 and E25.
b) In compliance with regulation 18, all bodies and persons who made written representations on an application should be notified of the decision/outcome and informed where they are able to access a full copy of the decision notice(which may include security sensitive information) for further inspection [16] . Copies of the decision notice will be available for public inspection on the register.
c) Hazardous substance registers should not be made available on-line and sensitive information must not be removed by members of the public taking access to such registers in planning offices. Planning authorities may wish to house this register separately from other planning registers so that access can be monitored.

L3. HSE intend to provide guidance to planning authorities on what information in relation to hazardous substances could be security sensitive.


L4. Planning authorities should bear in mind the provisions of section 28 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 which imposes restrictions on the disclosure of certain information without the consent of the person by whom the information was furnished. HSE has advised that, based on the experience of recent years, there are unlikely to be many occasions when the disclosure of information will give rise to problems. Nevertheless, if an authority is uncertain whether these restrictions applied to particular information at the time when it was provided by HSE , advice should be sought from HSE .


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