Key components of the National Planning Policy Framework
All of the following are extracts taken directly from
Securing the Future - delivering UK sustainable development strategy (2005) and from the
National Planning Policy Framework
At the heart of the National Planning Policy Framework is a presumption in favour of sustainable development, which should be seen as a golden
thread running through both plan-making and decision-taking.
For plan-making this means that:
- local planning authorities should positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of their area;
- Local Plans should meet objectively assessed needs, with sufficient flexibility to adapt to rapid change, unless:
- any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this
Framework taken as a whole; or
- specific policies in this Framework indicate development should be restricted.
Achieving Sustainable Development
The UK Sustainable Development Strategy Securing the Future set out five 'guiding principles' of sustainable development:
Three dimensions to Sustainable Development
These dimensions are: economic, social and environmental. These give rise to the need for the planning system to perform a number of roles:
- an economic role - contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy, by ensuring that sufficient land of the right type is
available in the right places and at the right time to support growth and innovation; and by identifying and coordinating development requirements, including the provision of infrastructure;
- a social role - supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by providing the supply of housing required to meet the needs of present and
future generations; and by creating a high quality built environment, with accessible local services that reflect the community's needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being; and
- an environmental role - contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment; and, as part of this, helping to improve biodiversity, use natural resources prudently, minimise waste and pollution, and mitigate and adapt to climate change including moving to a low carbon economy.
Pursuing sustainable development involves seeking positive improvements in the quality of the built, natural and historic environment, as well as in
people's quality of life, including (but not limited to):
- making it easier for jobs to be created in cities, towns and villages;
- moving from a net loss of bio-diversity to achieving net gains for nature;
- replacing poor design with better design;
- improving the conditions in which people live, work, travel and take leisure; and
- widening the choice of high quality homes.
12 Core Principles
These 12 principles are that planning should:
- be genuinely plan-led, empowering local people to shape their surroundings, with succinct local and neighbourhood plans setting out a positive vision for the future of the area. Plans should be kept up to date, and be based on joint working and co operation to address larger than
local issues. They should provide a practical framework within which decisions on planning applications can be made with a high degree of
predictability and efficiency;
- not simply be about scrutiny, but instead be a creative exercise in finding ways to enhance and improve the places in
which people live their lives;
- proactively drive and support sustainable economic development to deliver the homes, business and industrial units, infrastructure and thriving
local places that the country needs. Every effort should be made objectively to identify and then meet the housing, business and other development
needs of an area, and respond positively to wider opportunities for growth. Plans should take account of market signals, such as land prices and
housing affordability, and set out a clear strategy for allocating sufficient land which is suitable for development in their area, taking account of the needs of the residential and business communities;
- always seek to secure high quality design and a good standard of amenity for all existing and future occupants of land
- take account of the different roles and character of different areas, promoting the vitality of our main urban areas, protecting the Green Belts
around them, recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside and supporting thriving rural communities within it;
- support the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate, taking full account of flood risk and coastal change, and encourage the reuse
of existing resources, including conversion of existing buildings, and encourage the use of renewable resources (for example, by the development of
- contribute to conserving and enhancing the natural environment and reducing pollution. Allocations of land for development
should prefer land of lesser environmental value, where consistent with other policies in this Framework;
- encourage the effective use of land by reusing land that has been previously developed (brownfield land), provided that it is not of high
- promote mixed use developments, and encourage multiple benefits from the use of land in urban and rural areas, recognising that some open land
can perform many functions (such as for wildlife, recreation, flood risk mitigation, carbon storage, or food production);
- conserve heritage assets in a manner appropriate to their significance, so that they can be enjoyed for their contribution to the quality of
life of this and future generations;
- actively manage patterns of growth to make the fullest possible use of public transport, walking and cycling, and focus significant development
in locations which are or can be made sustainable; and
- take account of and support local strategies to improve health, social and cultural wellbeing for all, and deliver sufficient community and cultural facilities and services to meet local needs.
Ensuring the vitality of town centres
Planning policies should be positive, promote competitive town centre environments and set out policies for the management and growth of centres over
the plan period. In drawing up Local Plans, local planning authorities should:
- recognise town centres as the heart of their communities and pursue policies to support their viability and vitality;
- define a network and hierarchy of centres that is resilient to anticipated future economic changes;
- define the extent of town centres and primary shopping areas, based on a clear definition of primary and secondary
frontages in designated centres, and set policies that make clear which uses will be permitted in such locations;
- promote competitive town centres that provide customer choice and a diverse retail offer and which reflect the
individuality of town centres;
- retain and enhance existing markets and, where appropriate, re introduce or create new ones, ensuring that
markets remain attractive and competitive;
- allocate a range of suitable sites to meet the scale and type of retail, leisure, commercial, office, tourism, cultural,
community and residential development needed in town centres. It is important that needs for retail, leisure, office and other main town
centre uses are met in full and are not compromised by limited site availability. Local planning authorities should therefore undertake an
assessment of the need to expand town centres to ensure a sufficient supply of suitable sites;
- allocate appropriate edge of centre sites for main town centre uses that are well connected to the town centre
where suitable and viable town centre sites are not available. If sufficient edge of centre sites cannot be identified, set policies for meeting
the identified needs in other accessible locations that are well connected to the town centre;
- set policies for the consideration of proposals for main town centre uses which cannot be accommodated in or adjacent to
- recognise that residential development can play an important role in ensuring the vitality of centres and set out policies to encourage
residential development on appropriate sites; and
- where town centres are in decline, local planning authorities should plan positively for their future to encourage
Promoting sustainable transport
Transport policies have an important role to play in facilitating sustainable development but also in contributing to wider sustainability and health objectives. Smarter use of technologies can reduce the need to travel. The transport system needs to be balanced in favour of sustainable transport modes, giving people a real choice about how they travel. However, the Government recognises that different policies and measures will be required in different communities and opportunities to maximise sustainable transport solutions will vary from urban to rural areas.
Encouragement should be given to solutions which support reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and reduce congestion. In preparing Local Plans, local planning authorities should therefore support a pattern of development which, where reasonable to do so, facilitates the use of sustainable modes of transport.
Local authorities should work with neighbouring authorities and transport providers to develop strategies for the provision of viable infrastructure necessary to support sustainable development, including large scale facilities such as rail freight interchanges, roadside facilities for motorists or transport investment necessary to support strategies for the growth of ports, airports or other major generators of travel demand in their areas. The primary function of roadside facilities for motorists should be to support the safety and welfare of the road user.
All developments that generate significant amounts of movement should be supported by a Transport Statement or Transport Assessment. Plans and decisions should take account of whether:
- the opportunities for sustainable transport modes have been taken up depending on the nature and location of the site, to reduce the need for major transport infrastructure;
- safe and suitable access to the site can be achieved for all people; and
- improvements can be undertaken within the transport network that cost effectively limit the significant impacts of the development. Development should only be prevented or refused on transport grounds where the residual cumulative impacts of development are severe.
Plans and decisions should ensure developments that generate significant movement are located where the need to travel will be minimised and the use of sustainable transport modes can be maximised. However this needs to take account of policies set out elsewhere in this Framework, particularly in rural areas.
Plans should protect and exploit opportunities for the use of sustainable transport modes for the movement of goods or people. Therefore, developments should be located and designed where practical to:
- accommodate the efficient delivery of goods and supplies;
- give priority to pedestrian and cycle movements, and have access to high quality public transport facilities;
- create safe and secure layouts which minimise conflicts between traffic and cyclists or pedestrians, avoiding street clutter and where appropriate establishing home zones;
- incorporate facilities for charging plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles; and
- consider the needs of people with disabilities by all modes of transport.
A key tool to facilitate this will be a Travel Plan. All developments which generate significant amounts of movement should be required to provide a Travel Plan.
Planning policies should aim for a balance of land uses within their area so that people can be encouraged to minimise journey lengths for employment,
shopping, leisure, education and other activities.
For larger scale residential developments in particular, planning policies should promote a mix of uses in order to provide opportunities to undertake
day-to-day activities including work on site. Where practical, particularly within large-scale developments, key facilities such as primary schools and local shops should be located within walking distance of most properties.
If setting local parking standards for residential and non-residential development, local planning authorities should take into account:
- the accessibility of the development;
- the type, mix and use of development;
- the availability of and opportunities for public transport;
- local car ownership levels; and
- an overall need to reduce the use of high-emission vehicles.
Local authorities should seek to improve the quality of parking in town centres so that it is convenient, safe and secure, including appropriate provision for motorcycles. They should set appropriate parking charges that do not undermine the vitality of town centres. Parking enforcement should be proportionate.
Local planning authorities should identify and protect, where there is robust evidence, sites and routes which could be critical in developing infrastructure to widen transport choice.
Promoting Healthy Communities
To deliver the social, recreational and cultural facilities and services the community needs, planning policies and decisions should:
- plan positively for the provision and use of shared space, community facilities (such as local shops, meeting places, sports venues, cultural
buildings, public houses and places of worship) and other local services to enhance the sustainability of communities and residential environments;
- guard against the unnecessary loss of valued facilities and services, particularly where this would reduce the community's ability to meet its
- ensure that established shops, facilities and services are able to develop and modernise in a way that is sustainable, and retained for the benefit of
the community; and
- ensure an integrated approach to considering the location of housing, economic uses and community facilities and services.
Sufficient Choice of School Places
The Government attaches great importance to ensuring that a sufficient choice of school places is available to meet the needs of existing and new communities. Local planning authorities should take a proactive, positive and collaborative approach to meeting this requirement, and to development that will widen choice in education. They should:
- give great weight to the need to create, expand or alter schools; and
- work with schools promoters to identify and resolve key planning issues before applications are submitted.
Planning Strategically across Local Boundaries
Local planning authorities should work collaboratively with other bodies to ensure that strategic priorities across local boundaries are properly coordinated
and clearly reflected in individual Local Plans..
Local planning authorities will be expected to demonstrate evidence of
having effectively cooperated to plan for issues with cross-boundary impacts
when their Local Plans are submitted for examination ..
The Government has now released Planning Reform Proposals which supplement the NPPF
See their website
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