What are Additional Environmental Approvals?

Additional Environmental Approvals were introduced to extend the life of a lapsed (or soon to lapse) planning permission.

This mechanism to extend a permission was withdrawn in May 2021, therefore whilst this blog is written to talk about what AEAs are, this process applied for a short timescale to help developers during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

We’ve kept this information on our website as in the future  confusion about implementation of a permission within timescales could be an issue for some developments.  Whilst the original decision notice timeframe for implementation may have lapsed the temporary timeframe may not have and therefore development may have been commenced within this period.

The Process

There is no standard application form and no fee payable. Applications can be made in writing and submitted electronically and as long as you have supplied all the necessary information, you should receive a decision within 28 days. It’s also important to note that there is no fee to apply for Additional Environmental Approval.

What Details Should I Include in my Application?

As with anything planning related, to avoid hassle and complications it’s important to ensure you have supplied all the correct details and documents within your application. Be sure to include:

  1. The date you sent your application.
  2. Details of the planning permission in question.
  3. Details on the time limits and related conditions for implementation, and any conditions relating to environmental mitigation or enhancement measures.
  4. Information on whether the original permission was subject to either an Environmental Impact Assessment or a Habitats Regulation Assessment.
  5. If so, you should provide the findings of the screening and a report explaining why there have been no changes to environmental circumstances since.

What Common Issues may I Face in Relation to my Additional Environmental Approval Application?

Though there are a few common problems you may experience with your application, most of these are easily rectifiable! Let’s take a look at the main issues you could face when waiting for a decision.

  • I have received no response within 28 days of my application.

If this is the case, you can assume that your Additional Environmental Approval has been granted.

  • My local planning authority wants to extend the time to decide beyond 28 days.

An extension totalling no more than 21 days is allowed providing the applicant and local authority agree to this in writing. You can say no; however, this comes with the risk of your application being refused.

  • My local planning authority has written to me explaining that my application has not provided sufficient information.

You have the opportunity to submit the relevant information. Once this is provided, the 28-day determination period will begin from this point.

  • My application for Additional Environmental Approval has been refused.

If your application is refused, you do have a right to appeal the decision (a town planner can help you through this process, take a look at our guidance on choosing a town planner).

However rather than appealing, you can make a new application containing further information so that the authority can reconsider the position in a fresh 28-day period.

 Automatic Extensions

It’s worth noting that The Business and Planning Act 2020 is allowing certain planning permissions and consents to be extended automatically. If your planning permission is due to lapse between 19th August 2020 and 31st December 2020, your permission is automatically extended until 1st May 2021, without the need to apply for Additional Environmental Approval.

Similarly, Listed Building Consents which lapse between 23 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 are automatically extended to 1 May 2021 and will not be subject to a requirement to obtain Additional Environmental Approval.

If you’re unsure or would like written confirmation from your local planning authority, you can request this by writing to or emailing them with your planning permission reference number.

If you’re having issues with Additional Environmental Approval, or simply would like some advice or support in your application, a town planner can offer expert guidance throughout the process.