NPPF 'misrepresents sustainable development'

The government has 'grossly misrepresented' the principle of sustainable development in its planning reforms, environmental bodies have warned.

In the latest of a wave of objections to the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), six environmental professional bodies have written a joint letter to planning minister Greg Clark expressing their concerns.

The organisations include the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, the Royal Meteorological Society and the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.

While the bodies are supportive of a review of the planning regime, they are critical of the government's proposals for what they claim will give business and economic policies precedence over the environment.

The NPPF represents a capitulation to a powerful commercial lobby group and will result in a "builders' charter" to develop at the cost of wider local and environmental interests, they argue.

The bodies urged the government to exercise caution in rushing out the reforms and in particular re-examine its use of the term "sustainable development".

They heavily criticised the "draconian" rationalisation of planning guidance, which condenses more than 1,000 pages to just 52, claiming it will sweep aside many safeguards established over generations.

This will leave the planning system "ill-equipped to consider a range of strategic-level threats facing society, including climate change", the bodies claim.

They are also concerned that the NPPF includes nothing on planning for waste management.

The letter can be read here.

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