Supplementary Planning Documents

In addition to the Local Plan, various documents have been prepared that have been adopted as supplementary planning guidance, known as Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD). These guidelines are non statutory although they 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. 
  • Isles of Scilly Design Guide

  • Biodiversity and Geodiversity

  • ​Sustainable Energy Strategy

  • Strategic Transport Framework

Isles of Scilly Design Guide:

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

Biodiversity and Geodiversity

The Council of the Isles of Scilly has collaborated with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and Natural England to prepare the document - Biodiversity and Geological Conservation - Planning Good Practice Guidance for the Isles of Scilly. 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.

Isles of Scilly Sustainable Energy Strategy

The Council of the Isles of Scilly, with the help of the Cornwall Sustainable Energy Partnership, has developed a Sustainable Energy Strategy for the islands. The Isles of Scilly Sustainable Energy Strategy will complement the Local Plan, the AONB Management Plan and the Isles of Scilly Design Guide. 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.

Strategic Transport Framework

The Strategic Transport Framework has had a long gestation: this reflects 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.

Other Guidance

Non-mains Drains

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.

Bats and Buildings


Because the Local Requirements may require more information, it is critical that the timing of your project takes into account the possible need to assess a building, structure or tree for the presence of protected species, such as Bats.  Any alteration of a roof, demolition of a structure (requiring planning permission) and any tree or hedgerow removal required as part of the development, will trigger the need for an assessment.  Whilst a preliminary assessment can take place at any time during the year, any subsequent Bat Emergence Survey that may be recommended in the preliminary assessment, can only take place when Bats are active (May through to September).  Your application may not be valid for consideration until all required and recommended assessments have been submitted.

List of qualifeid Bat Ecologists who can carry out survey work on the islands

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.

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. As of February 2021, it is a formal validation requirement that all necessary surveys are carried out prior to the validation of an application. This means that if a PAS is required and can't be obtained until May, the application will not be able to be accepted until then.

Should bats be idneitifed as using your property as a roost, 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.

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 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. 

***Please note that the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and licensed wardens from the Isles of Scilly Bat Group are no longer able to carry out Bat Surveys on the Isles of Scilly. This will mean having to employ an alternative organisation to assist you. A list of some of the the nearest Bat Ecologists who can carry out a Bat survey on the islands can be found in the link to the right of this page or alternatively you could look through the applications in the planning list at surveys submitted to accompany existing applications.