In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government on 11 May 2020 published 'Our Plan to Rebuild, the UK Government's Covid-19 recovery strategy'.
Through the accompanying Ministerial Statement Robert Jenrick MP (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) outlines that the measures to be made available to the construction industry to be able to operate safely in accordance with the Covid-19 secure guidelines.
Construction sites are beginning to re-commence works and the Ministerial Statement makes clear that Local Planning Authorities should take a swift and positive approach to the control of construction site working hours.
At present construction site working hours may be controlled through planning conditions or construction management plans attached to planning permission granted by the Local Planning Authority.
The standard permitted working hours is generally 8am - 6pm Monday to Friday, 9am - 1pm Saturday with no construction works on Sunday or Bank Holidays.
The Ministerial Statement sets out that Local Planning Authorities should support requests from developers to start work earlier in the day or work later in the evenings.
Local Planning Authorities are encouraged to support requests for extending working hours up to 9pm Monday to Saturday.
Where the request is for a short term period of up to 12 weeks, the agreement should be made informally between the development and the Local Planning Authority.
Prior to operating extended working hours, developers must apply by completing the below form.
The Local Planning Authority will provide written confirmation by email of whether the request is acceptable within 10 days.
Developers are requested to set out the types of activities to take place after 6pm and it is suggested that these do not include noise intensive activities such as the use of heavy machinery, piling and ground working.
It also suggested that HGV's do not manoeuvre on the site or access the site beyond 6pm.
Please note that the requests will not be subject to public consultation.
Once an informal agreement has been provided by the Local Planning Authority, the developer is expected to write to all adjoining neighbouring properties to provide details of the extended operating hours and provide local residents with contact details for the site manager or contact person should they wish to raise any concern.
Should a developer wish to extend their operating hours beyond 12 weeks or more significant changes to the working hours, they will be required to submit an application to temporally amend the condition which refers to hours of construction (in some cases this maybe referenced in a condition requiring the submission of the Construction Environmental Management Plan) attached to the planning permission.
Local Planning Authorities are required to respond to these requests within 10 days.
Therefore, should a developer wish to submit an application to temporally amend the condition, they are advised to contact the case officer or Local Planning Authority beforehand to discuss the proposal and any other application requirements.
The Ministerial Statement states that extended operating hours should not extend beyond 13 May 2021 and the Government has produced an information document with questions and answers.