National Planning Policy Framework Consultation

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The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have launched a consultation, from 30 January 2021 to 27 March 2021, proposing a number of changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The majority of these changes relate to policy on quality and design of new developments in response to the recommendations of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission.

As part of this consultation, MHCLG are also seeking views on the draft National Model Design Code in practice and the model processes it sets out. The Code forms part of the government’s planning policy guidance but it is not a statement of national policy.

National Model Design Code

The government considers these codes important because they provide a framework for creating healthy, environmentally responsive, sustainable and distinctive places, with a consistent and high-quality standard of design.

The government is seeking views on the following areas in relation to the National Model Design Code:

  • The content of the guidance.

  • The application and use of the guidance.

  • The approach to community engagement.

NPPF – Amendment Summary

Summary of proposed amendments to the National Planning Policy Framework

This revised Framework:

  • Implements policy changes in response to the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission recommendations

  • Makes a number of changes to strengthen environmental policies – including those arising from our review of flood risk with Defra

  • Includes minor changes to clarify policy in order to address legal issues

  • Includes changes to remove or amend out of date material

  • Includes an update to reflect a recent change made in a Written Ministerial Statement about retaining and explaining statues.

  • Clarification on the use of Article 4 directions

The sections below outline the main changes proposed to the Framework. A number of chapters remain unaltered, other than consequential changes to page, paragraph and footnote numbers (these are 1, 6, 7 and 10).

Key Chapters

This is a large document and as such we have taken the time to review it for you and identified the key amendments within specific Chapters, which really impact on what we do.

Chapter 15: Conserving and enhancing the natural environment

The revised text seeks to clarify existing policy and reflects the government’s response to the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission:

New paragraph 174 has been amended in response to the Glover Review of protected landscapes, to clarify that the scale and extent of development within the settings of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty should be sensitively located and designed so as to avoid adverse impacts on the designated landscapes.

New paragraph 175 has been separated from the preceding paragraph to clarify that this policy applies at the development management stage only.

New paragraph 178(d) has been amended to clarify that development whose primary objective is to conserve or enhance biodiversity should be supported; while opportunities to improve biodiversity in and around other developments should be pursued as an integral part of their design, especially where this can secure measurable net gains for biodiversity and enhance public access to nature.

Green infrastructure finally gets recognised within the document – Annex 2: Glossary

The definition of “green infrastructure” has been updated to better reflect practice, as already set out in Planning Practice Guidance, published evidence reviews and the new national framework of green infrastructure standards.

Full consultation and amendments can be found here.

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