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Request for temporary relaxation of working hours for construction sites

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 11 May 2020 released the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy to advise how construction work can be undertaken across England providing sites are able to operate safely in line with the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

In response to this publication, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (Robert Jenrick MP) issued a Written Statement (HLWS230), (view written statement), advising that planning conditions restricting working hours (including through a construction management plan) can have greater flexibility in order to ensure that, where appropriate, planning conditions are not a barrier to allowing developers the flexibility necessary to facilitate the safe operation of construction sites during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is advised that Local Authorities should not refuse requests to extend working hours until 9am, Monday to Saturday, but with no working on Sundays or Bank Holidays permitted. In some cases, such as in areas without residential properties, extending working hours beyond this, including allowing 24 hour working where appropriate may be justified.

If a development is subject to a Planning Condition or Construction Management Plan that restricts working hours, Developers are required to submit in writing a ‘Request for Temporary Relaxation of Working Hours’ to the Local Planning Authority, by emailing, confirming extended working hours/days, extent of relaxation, site address, reference number of planning permission and contractor/developer’s name and contact details.

Temporary relation of working hours will only be accepted up to 13 May 2021.

The Local Planning Authority will respond within 48 hours and confirm that the requests have been accepted.

Requests for temporary relaxation of working hours will only be refused where there are very compelling reasons such as significant impacts on neighbouring residents, businesses or other uses, which are particularly sensitive to noise, dust or vibration, and which cannot be overcome through mitigation measures.

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