From Legal Futures’ Associate Landmark Information Group.
With the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government publishing a revision to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Landmark Information Group, a leading property, land and environmental data and technology specialist, has welcomed the revised policy document confirming that greater clarity on key definitions will help support sustainable development.
The NPPF sees greater emphasis on pre-application engagement, where gathering and assessing the right information at the start of a development project is considered “crucial to good decision-making”. It suggests that applications should discuss what information is needed with local planning authorities and expert bodies as early as possible, to avoid delays. This includes conducting Environmental Impact Assessments, flood risk assessments and land contamination studies.
Environmental considerations also include a focus on determining air quality when deciding development proposals, plus greater emphasis on river catchment areas and basin management plans from a flood risk management perspective. New to the NPPF is confirmation that “major developments should only be allowed in areas of flood risk where it can be demonstrated that it incorporates sustainable drainage systems, unless there is clear evidence that it is inappropriate.”
Likewise, for Land Contamination, the NPPF states that the responsibility for securing a safe development rests with the developer and/or landowner (para 179). A report prepared by a competent person, which includes appropriate and up to date data will therefore be required by a planning authority to assess the suitability of the development (para 178).
Jason Goodwin, Group Sales and Marketing Director, Landmark Information Group said: “When the National Planning Policy Framework was first published in 2012, the focus was on the ‘presumption towards sustainable development’, but the detail was lacking. Now, the latest revision provides greater clarity to planners, developers and other property professionals on what is required of them. We are here to support our clients across the board in deciphering the detail of the NPPF and how it relates to them and their clients. We will be releasing a series of advice blogs and updates on our Landmark Academy training portal over the coming weeks to explain the detail behind the policy framework. We are also on hand to offer guidance regarding the range of environmental risk assessments that will support all planning application submissions.”
The policies are effective immediately, therefore developers who have current applications should be aware of these changes, and consider the alteration of their applications in order to be consistent with the new policies.