The draft National Planning Policy Framework was published for consultation this month (March 2018). Key elements of the revised framework are listed below where relevant to our work. We will be interpreting these requirements in the new few months and contributing to the Government’s consultation:
- Flexibility with daylight standards – the updated document states that local plans should optimise the use of land through the use of minimum density standards. To ensure an efficient use of land, the document makes it clear that a flexible approach should be taken to daylight and sunlight policies (policy 123). A footnote to this text adds that the scheme would need to provide acceptable living standards.
- Promoting innovative or sustainable design – the document states that ‘great weight should be given to outstanding or innovative design which promote high levels of sustainability or help to raise the standard of design more generally’ (policy 130).
- Adaptation to climate change – local plans should be proactive, and ‘new development should be planned for in ways that avoid increased vulnerability to the range of impacts arising from climate change’ (such as the risk of overheating from rising temperatures) (policy 149).
- Technical standards – the document states that ‘any local requirements for the sustainability of buildings should reflect the Government’s policy for national technical standards’.
- Planning for low or zero carbon energy – local plans should ‘identify opportunities where development can draw its energy supply from decentralised, renewable or low carbon energy supply system and for co-locating heat customers and suppliers’. Local planning authorities should also support community-led initiatives for renewable and low carbon energy. In addition, local authorities should expect new development to comply with policies on local requirements for decentralised energy, unless it can be demonstrated that this is not feasible or viable (policies 150, 151 & 152).
- Encouraging passive design – local authorities should expect development to ‘take account of landform, layout, building orientation, massing and landscaping to reduce energy consumption’ (policy 152).