The Trust as a statutory consultee for planning applications

The Canal & River Trust is a Statutory Consultee on planning applications.

Towpath collapse with cones and digger Towpath collapse

This means that Local Planning Authorities in England and Wales are required to formally consult the Trust on applications for planning permission involving:

Development likely to affect

  • any inland waterway (whether natural or artificial) or reservoir owned or managed by the Canal & River Trust, or
  • any canal feeder channel, watercourse, let off or culvert.
    which is within an area which has been notified for the purposes of this provision to the local planning authority by the Canal & River Trust.

The requirement is set out in the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010 and the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (Wales) Order 2012. 

The above requirement also applies to applications for the prior approval of certain permitted electronic communications apparatus (including mobile phone operator masts). 

Consultations are necessary when a development is “likely to affect” the particular waterway concerned. A letter from the Department of Environment to Chief Planning Officers in 1997 advised that “development likely to affect the particular waterway” covered:

  • development which involves any digging of foundations;
  • the building of anything large which could impose a loading on the side of the waterway;
  • any development which could create a breach in the waterway for example by increasing surface water discharges; and
  • any major change of land use, for example from fields to housing.

The letter also advises that it is not necessary to consult us about various types of household and minor development which would not impact on the structure of the waterway or its integrity. This includes domestic roof extensions, changes to the external appearance of buildings which do not involve foundations or additional loadings and the erection of sheds, fences etc. where no significant foundation is required.

Further information on the area notified to Local Planning Authorities for consultation purposes can be found here.        

The Trust should also be consulted where the grant of advertisement consent would affect the safety of persons using any waterway, dock or harbour for which the Trust is the navigation or harbour authority.  The requirement is set out in the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations (2007) and the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992 in Wales.

Notification of the Canal & River Trust as a landowner

Notification of the Trust may also be required in our capacity as an adjoining landowner.

Last date edited: 18 November 2020