Memorandum by Royal Town Planning Institute
1. The planning system utilises Ordnance
Survey material in two particular ways:
In the making of planning applications
and appeals and other site specific consents or orders and
In the preparation and publication
of local authority development plans.
2. The Town and Country Planning (Applications)
Regulations 1988 require that an application for planning permission
(a) be made on a form provided by the local
(b) include the particulars specified in
the form and be accompanied by a plan which identifies the land
to which it relates and any other plans and drawings and information
necessary to describe the development which is the subject of
the application; and
(c) except where the authority indicate that
a lesser number is required, be accompanied by three copies of
the form and the plans and the drawings submitted with it.
The local planning authority may direct an applicant
in writing to supply any further information necessary to determine
3. There is no statutory requirement for
the plan which identifies the land to be on an OS map. However,
in practice this is the preferred approach and is encouraged by
individual local planning authorities' application forms. In urban
areas these generally seek 1:1,250 site plans, as these show house
numbers. This enables a properly scaled and authoritative map
to be available both to the local planning authority and to those
notified or consulted on the application.
4. The Planning Inspectorate's appeal forms
similarly require "a plan showing the site outlined in red
... (preferably on a copy of a 1:10,000 Ordnance Survey map)".
5. OS maps to accompany applications and
plans may be purchased from an OS Mapping Reseller. Many consultant
chartered town planners and other development agents will have
taken out their own licences with the OS. In addition, many local
planning authorities have licences from the OS which enable them
to make copies available to those making planning applications.
In each case, the copies will be marked to indicate the OS as
the source and that no further copies should be made.
6. The local authority is allowed by the
OS to make a reasonable administrative charge for this service.
These seem to vary widely between authorities. The Institute is,
for example, aware of one authority that charges £13.88 for
five A4 copies and of another that charges £27 for six copies
to accompany a planning application.
7. At the general level, the Institute has
long been concerned that the Government has not sought to properly
regulate the charges that local planning authorities may make
for the copying of planning material, whether for applicants or
third parties. It recommends that the Committee may wish to consider
the recharging rates for OS material in that wider context, perhaps
when it looks further at various elements of the Planning Green
Paper. The issue has particular topicality in the development
of the Planning Portal and other e-government initiatives designed
to make planning and other statutory activities directly accessible
on the Internet without requiring either visits to local authority
offices or correspondence to obtain material.
8. The Town and Country Planning (Development
Plan) (England) Regulations 1999 require maps in unitary development
plans, local plans and minerals and waste local plans. (Section
6(1) states that these shall be "reproduced from, or based
upon, an Ordnance Survey map").
9. Most local authorities have entered into
a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the OS. Typically the SLA
provides the local authority with digital mapping data for use
on computer systems comprising the 1:250 land line and various
data sets for 1:10,000 and 1:50,000-scale mapping. In urban contexts
1:500 scale maps will be often used for redevelopment schemes.
The full range of OS digital mapping data products is large and
includes datasets for the implementation of geographic information
systems (GIS). Local authorities that cannot handle digital mapping
data can still be provided with OS mapping on paper.
10. The SLAs are ordinarily flexible and
designed to meet the needs of the user by offering various combinations
over and above the basic supply of digital or printed mapping,
this is reflected in the cost of the licence to the local authority.
11. The terms of the licence state that
the local authority can use the mapping for their own legitimate
business use. The authority is required to appoint an Ordnance
Survey Liaison Officer. OS mapping data or printout of that data
must not be distributed, with or without charge, to third parties
except for the purpose of making planning/licensing applications.
The local authority is allowed to make a reasonable administrative
charge for this service.
12. For any work which requires the publication
of OS map based information, for instance the local plan or footpath
leaflets etc, a royalty must be paid for each hard copy printed
by the local authority. The authority is allowed to recoup this
cost by charging for the printed information. This royalty is
usually calculated and agreed with the OS, using formulas based
on the area of the printed sheets.
13. All hard copies of OS mapping must carry
a copyright notice. The local authority is required under the
SLA to implement measures to prevent illegal copying and distribution
of all mapping supplied, especially in the e-government age with
the transmission of data through the Internet. As indicated above,
some local authorities have been appointed to act as an Authorised
14. Local authorities are able to supply
OS mapping to town and parish councils so long as the mapping
information required is directly related to the SLA holder's business,
thus including consultation on planning applications. However,
town and parish councils should make their own arrangements with
the OS, or an authorised OS mapping reseller if they require mapping
for their own purposes.