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Landscape Institute assesses the new NPPF

The Landscape Institute is assessing the long-awaited draft of the new NPPF, and its implications for landscape. The document represents changes to a crucial area of policymaking, and the LI wants their members to have their say.

New Policy Manager Benjamin Brown invites help to formulate a response and influence government.

On Monday, the UK Government published its first major revision of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) since its initial publication in 2012.

The draft is currently up for consultation, and the LI need input to make sure landscape isn’t forgotten. The deadline for responses is 10 May, and this will be a major focus for the policy team during the coming two months.

The new NPPF: at a glance

There are a number of notable inclusions. Better protections for ancient woodland, reference to cycling infrastructure and changes to viability assessments that could make it harder for developers to dodge affordable housing commitments are all welcome.

But just as important is what’s not in the Framework. The chapter on Green Belt, for instance, is slim, and may represent a missed opportunity for positive reform. And while some of the wording from the government’s recent 25 Year Environment Plan is present, could it perhaps make a stronger commitment to achieving net environmental gain?

Not all the changes are new. This new draft wraps up smaller changes made in recent years, such as:

  • proposals made in previous consultations, including those around commuter hubs and starter homes
  • changes made through Written Ministerial Statements, such as the Decemeber 2014 statement on Sustainable Drainage (PDF)
  • legal decisions that have impacted the interpretation of these planning policies

For further information about the proposals, visit the gov.uk website. The most important documents are the first two:

  1. A summary of the proposals (PDF)
  2. The full draft text of the NPPF (PDF)
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