Harrogate Borough Council has established that planning permission is not required for the installation of public access defibrillators in the district. The position had been uncertain due to a lack of clarity under planning law, which has seen local authorities across the UK adopting different stances on the issue.
The move follows a recent request to have the medical devices fitted to locations in Knaresborough and Harrogate. Public access defibrillators are designed to be used on someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest, delivering a high energy electric shock to restore the heart’s normal rhythm. They can be used by anyone without any previous training as they provide vocal instructions on how to operate them and will only deliver a shock if they don’t detect a heartbeat, making sure that they are not used incorrectly or inappropriately.
The installation of the defibrillators has been classified as ‘de minimis’ in planning terms – minor works, which in relative terms, may not have a material effect on the external appearance of the building on which they are installed and as a result do not come within the legal definition of development and hence do not require planning permission. Listed building consent will still be required for the device to be installed on a listed building.
Councillor Rebecca Burnett, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning said:
We are pleased to confirm that planning permission will not be required for the installation of defibrillators in the district. Planning laws are not clear on this subject and local authorities across the country have interpreted the planning requirements in different ways.
Harrogate Borough Council recognises the benefit of these medical devices and feels that they should be treated as de minimis and therefore not require a planning application or any fee. We wholeheartedly support fundraising efforts to purchase such lifesaving equipment.