Supplementary Planning Documents

Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) Documents

In addition to the Local Plan, various documents have been prepared that have been adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG). These guidance documents have been subject to public consultation and supplement the policies and proposals set out in the Local Plan. As such their contents are material in the determination of planning applications.  In light of the new Local Plan (2015-2030) you will note a Forward Plan intention to update some of these documents to reflect the changes to the local planning policy framework of the Isles of Scillly.

Isles of Scilly Design Guide

The Isles of Scilly Design Guide was approved in 2006 to complement the 2005 Local Plan. It offers clear and practical guidance in order to achieve high quality and sustainable design and ensures the special character of Scilly is retained and where possible enhanced.

FORWARD PLAN ACTION: In accordance with the Local Development Scheme it is the Local Planning Authority's intention to update this guide to reflect changes of the 2015-2030 Local Plan.

Biodiversity and Geodiversity 

The Biodiversity and Geodiversity Supplementary Planning Document was adopted in December 2008 and supports the 2005 Local Plan policies. The Council of the Isles of Scilly produced this in collaboration with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and Natural England to prepare Good Practice Guidance for the Isles of Scilly, in relation to planning. The document is designed to assist those who are submitting and determining planning applications in Scilly to understand how to ensure that biodiversity and, where relevant, geodiversity are protected, conserved and enhanced as a consequence of development.

FORWARD PLAN ACTION: As with the Design Guide, the Planning Department intend to update this document to reflect the 2015-2030 Local Plan and continue to development a good baseline of issues such as recreational pressure and Areas of Multiple Environmental Sensitivity.

Sustainable Energy Strategy 

The Sustainable Energy Strategy Supplementary Planning document was adopted in November 2007 and is intended to support the 2005 Local Plan.  The Council, together with the help of the Cornwall Sustainable Energy Partnership, developed the guidance document to reflect the targets and ambitions at the time and to complement the Local Plan. It aims to raise awareness concerning the provision and consumption of energy and seeks to promote actions that will improve the energy profile of the Isles of Scilly. The intention is for the Sustainable Energy Strategy to be inspirational, helping to guide private, public and domestic energy users to consider the benefits of consuming energy in a more sustainable manner. The strategy will help make the islands more self sufficient and ideally a net exporter of energy. It seeks to reduce local impact on climate change, enhance the quality of life for those people living in fuel-poor homes and improve business performance by minimising the energy resources necessary to deliver an organisation's targets.

FORWARD PLAN ACTION: The requirements of the 2015-2030 Local Plan will trigger a need to update this SPD to reflect the requirements of the new Local Plan and have a better understanding of the capacity of the islands to generate renewable energy.

Strategic Transport Framework 

The Strategic Transport Framework supplementary planning document was adopted by the Council in August 2011. The document has had a long gestation reflecting the complex and ever changing transport issues on the islands in relation to both mainland and interisland connections. It is recognised that there are no easy or obvious solutions that will resolve all of the islands' transport issues, but there are a range of actions and options set out in the Transport Framework which will, if implemented, assist in addressing some of the challenges facing the islands. However, the cost of transport provision, and its affordability for users, remains a fundamental issue over which the Council has little control. The inexorable rise of transport costs for both freight and passengers, and the limited nature of services, is having a significant and detrimental impact on the economy and welfare of Isles of Scilly residents. The scope and influence of the Transport Framework is constrained as many of the fundamental issues facing the islands are the result of commercial decisions.

The Local Planning Authority will update this document as circumstances require, following careful monitoring of the implementation of the Local Plan 2015-2030.

Other Guidance

None Mains Drains

Applicants and developers looking to make changes to any drainage arrangements, are advised to contact South West Water (SWW) as the Water Authority for the Isles of Scilly, since April 2020. There are a very limited number of public drainage systems to connect to on the Isles of Scilly meaning that private drainage arrangements such as septic tanks are often necessary. Guidance on the disposal of sewage where no mains drainage is available can be found here and there is a leaflet on small sewerage treatment systems.

Protected Species - Bats


All bats and their roosts are protected by law and as a building owner you have responsibility to ensure that no protected species are harmed during any works carried out to your property. If a planning proposal has the potential to disturb the habitats of protected species, an ecological assessment will need to be commissioned. In relation to bats, this would require a preliminary bat roost assessment (sometimes referred to as a 'bat survey') to assess the possibility of bats being present in your property. The guide 'What to expect from a bat survey' is a good starting point to understanding this process. 

Offences relating to protected species such as bats carries a possible fine of £5,000 and six month prison sentence. It is also worth noting that each individual animal affected can be considered as a seperate offence. It is important to remember that even with planning permission in place, individuals are note exempt  from wildlife legislation. There are many examples of offences committed through ignorance of the relevant legislation and the responsibilities it imposes. Any work, whether its being carried out under permitted development or through a planning permission there is a legal requirement to ensure all legal requirements are observed.

Bats can be discreet visitors and you may not have noticed their presence. They cause no harm to buildings and pose no health risk. If as a result of a premliminary survey, a further presence and absence survey (PAS) is required to be carried out you should be aware that this may delay the processing of your planning application as they can only be carried out during the milder months between May and September when bats are active and not hibernating.  

Should bats be identified as using your property, appropriate mitigation measures will need to be put in place to ensure that the proposed works do not cause any harm to them. This would most commonly mean carry out the works at certain times of year whilst the roost is not in use and also provide roosting opportunities within the design of the proposal. The 2015-2030 Local Plan contains policy expectations for development projects to also deliver biodiversity enhancements.  So even where there are no bats found, you may be asked to provide enhancement measures such as the installation of appropriately sited bat boxes in addition to appropriate landscaping and planting.

Regardless of whether a planning application is required or not, it is a against the law to harm protected species and intentionally disturb their habitats. You will be required to stop work and contact a specialist immediately should you discover protected species during any work on your property. Bats in particular should only be handled by licensed bat wardens see 'What to expect from a bat survey' for more information on who to contact. 

List of qualified ecologists, who can carry out surveys on Scilly