I’d urge anyone who realise how important planning is to the success or failure of sustainable development, to respond to the Government’s consultation on the new national planning framework over the twelve days. The deadline is 28th February.

Rumours from planning contacts suggest that the definition of sustainable development the government are using is as weak as our original fears – business as usual with a bit of climate mitigation and local green space protection.

I will be working on LWM’s response next week – we have been extremely busy with a great event for a fantastic group of sustainability minded people in Herefordshire, looking at opportunities for influencing their local plan and what the new planning system might bring. The event went brilliantly and Herefordshire seems to have the energy and the brains to make things happen – but without a strong national planning policy, more battles will be lost than won in spite of good local circumstances.

I’ve copied a useful post from Simon Fairlie on this subject below.  If I find time I will post LWM’s comments on the consultation early next week.

Karen Leach
Coordinator

The Government is consulting on a new national planning framework for England until 28th February. All the planning policy statements such as PPS7 on the Countryside, and PPS1a on Climate Change are likely to be replaced by one document The Government are allegedly looking to reduce several hundred pages of guidance into ten or twenty pages.

This is really important for future people involved in low impact development, permaculture projects, ecovillages etc. It is potentially a threat as policies that have enabled projects to get planning permission in the past may be removed. However, it is also an important opportunity to get supportive policies added at the national level.

Chapter 7 has been working with the Permaculture Association  to identify planning policies that we’d like to see retained or added. Here in bullet point form are the main points we have identified.

1. A definition of “sustainable Development” in the framework that is robust and stringent, and emphasises ecologically sustainable development, not just sustainable economic development.

2. Retention of a policy to allow agricultural, forestry and other rural workers to build homes in the open countryside. This is currently contained in Annex A of PPS7 (Planning Policy Statement 7).

3. Introduction of a national policy for Low Impact Development, similar to the “One Planet Development” policy contained in TAN6 (Technical Advice Note 6) in Wales.

4. Introduction of policies that are supportive of self-builders, particularly where homes are ecologically sustainable and/or affordable.

5. We would like to see the encouragement of local food production and forestry enterprises on green belt land.

6. Introduction of policies that provide for people who wish to have part-time access to agricultural land on the edge of existing settlements.

7. Introduction of policies that make it easier for those who choose to live in a mobile home, cabin or other low impact dwelling to do so — whether or not they are classed as gypsies or travellers.

We need to demonstrate to the government that there is a demand for these kinds of development. If you agree with some or all of these points please write a submission by the 28th February – in your own words – and send it to:

planningframework@communities.gsi.gov.uk

or

Alan Scott
National Planning Policy Framework
Department for Communities and Local Government
Zone 1/H6
Eland House
London SW1E 5DU