The Government published its revision of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) yesterday (24 July 2018). During the consultation the government held 10 regional engagement events and approximately 40 individual meetings. The revision consolidates a series of proposals, which have been included in previous consultation documents, including the Housing White Paper and the Planning for the right homes in the right places consultation.
The press release, states that the new rule book will focus on:
- promoting high quality design of new homes and places
- stronger protection for the environment
- building the right number of homes in the right places
- greater responsibility and accountability for housing delivery from councils and developers
From November 2018 councils will have a Housing Delivery Test focused on driving up the numbers of homes actually delivered in their area, rather than how many are planned for.
Most of the changes proposed in the revised NPPF were expected and as such this post merely provides a summary of the points relating to transport.
The revised NPPF is approximately equal in volume to the previous document but most helpful is the new structure, which has been divided up into 17 topic sections. Chapter 9 is a direct replacement of the previous Chapter 4 under the same heading “Promoting sustainable transport”.
Within chapter 9 the following text reflects the previous announcements or consultation proposals:
Paragraph 103b reflects the housing White Paper proposal that authorities should be expected to identify additional development opportunities arising from strategic infrastructure investment.
Paragraph 106 incorporates the Written Ministerial Statement of 25 March 2015 on parking standards.
We note that Paragraph 105 now explicitly call for the provision of electric and other ultra-low emission vehicles, rather than as before expressing the need for reducing the use of high-emission vehicles.
Paragraph 106 introduces the notion that maximum parking standards should only be set where there is a clear and compelling justification (implying that maximum parking standards should not be applied as a matter of course). The paragraph has been clarified further following the draft NPPF by now also stating that maximum parking standards should also only be set to optimise
“the density of development in city and town centres and other locations that are well served by public transport (in accordance with chapter 11 of this Framework)”.
Paragraph 107 is new in the revised NPPF highlighting the
“importance of providing adequate overnight lorry parking facilities, taking into account any local shortages”.
The policy requiring the assessment of transport impact of proposals (previously paragraph 32 now at paragraphs 108-110) now put emphasis on highway safety as well as capacity and congestion. The highest priority is given to the sustainable modes of transport, such as pedestrians and cyclists, followed by access to high quality public transport. We note that the definition of severe impact is still absent from the revised document.
Chapter 9 has been revised to improve the structure. The main message is that transport should be considered in a variety of ways and addressed as fully as possible.
Further revisions relating to transport appears in chapter 11 that covers ”Making effective use of land”. In paragraph 123 it is made clear that minimum density standards are expected to be used in town and city centres around transport hubs as well as in other areas well served by public transport. Paragraph 123a states:
“These standards should seek a significant uplift in the average density of residential development within these areas “
In regard to the Green Belt; in chapter 13 called “Protecting Green Belt land” paragraph 138 is now clarifying that when the need for Green Belt change has been demonstrated (paragraph 136) where “exceptional circumstances are fully evidenced and justified” (paragraph 137), then local plans should firstly consider releasing brownfield land and/or land which is “well-served by public transport”, whilst also considering offsetting measures.
The presumption in favour of sustainable development remains at the heart of the NPPF. The wording (now in paragraph 11) has been reordered to reflect the way that plan and decision-making are approached in practice. The NPPF sets out an expectation for objectively assessed needs to be accommodated unless there are strong reasons not to, including any unmet needs from neighbouring areas.
Daniel Ekstrand, Associate Director, said:
“The revised 2018 NPPF does not contain any revolutionary changes from the 2012 NPPF, however it is encouraging to see that more emphasis has been put on the importance of sustainable modes of transport and the need for transport planning to be considered early in the planning process. Hopefully the new document will assist in enabling the delivery of the housing the UK desperately needs”