Our approach to the duty to cooperate under the Localism Act 2011 - conclusions

The Localism Act 2011 requires local planning authorities, and certain other public bodies to cooperate in planning processes which are of bigger than local significance, by engaging "constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis" to develop strategic policies. 

In particular, the duty:

  • relates to sustainable development or use of land that would have a significant impact on at least two local planning areas or on a planning matter that falls within the remit of a county council;
  • requires that councils set out planning policies to address such issues; and
  • requires councils to consider joint approaches to plan making.

Regulation 4 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning)(England) Regulations 2012 names ORR as a "prescribed body" for the purposes of the Localism Act 2011. This imports upon ORR the duty to cooperate with local planning authorities.

Our guidance below clarifies how plans with relevance to the railway should be submitted to us. In particular:

  • the circumstances under, and the stage at which, local authorities should include us in their planning consultation;
  • how such consultation should be presented to enable us to focus on issues that affect the railway. Sometimes we have to read through a significant number of pages just to find the issue we are being consulted about. At present this also presents a risk that we could overlook implications for an important proposal;
  • the timescales planning authorities should adhere to in order to give us sufficient time to process their submission properly;
  • our approach for the consideration of consultations, including the timescales we will aim to work within; and
  • details of how we can engage with local authorities in the development of their plans.

ORR consulted on its approach to this duty between May and July 2013.


Localism Act 2011: Delivering ORR's duty to cooperate pdf icon PDF, 92 Kb
September 2013


Consultation on our proposed approach to the duty to cooperate: conclusions pdf icon PDF, 48 Kb
September 2013

Consultation document

Consultation on our proposed approach to the duty to cooperate pdf icon PDF, 121 Kb 
31 May 2013