The final version of the revised National Planning Policy Framework was formally published on the 24th July 2018. Our review of the new document has identified the following key sustainability themes:
- Flexibility with daylight and sunlight 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 or guidance (Policy 123) as long as the scheme provides 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 raise the standard of design more generally in an area’ (Policy 131).
- Adaptation to climate change – plans should take a proactive approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change, 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’ (Policy 150).
- Planning for low or zero carbon energy – local plans should ‘identify opportunities for development to draw its energy supply from decentralised, renewable or low carbon energy supply systems and for co-locating potential 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 supply, unless it can be demonstrated that this is not feasible or viable (Policies 151, 152 and 153).
- Encouraging passive design – local authorities should expect development to ‘take account of landform, layout, building orientation, massing and landscaping to minimise energy consumption’ (Policy 153).