Survey reveals councils' sustainable development concerns

A survey of local planning authorities has found that a majority have concerns about the government's interpretation of sustainable development in the national planning policy framework (NPPF).

The survey of 27 local authorities, carried out by countryside campaigners the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), found that 26 of the councils thought the government’s definition of sustainable development was inadequate, while 21 felt arrangements from moving to the new regime were also inadequate.

The survey also found that only one of the nine authorities who commented on the issue thought "ordinary" (un-designated) countryside would be adequately protected from development, while 19 of the authorities gave either no or only qualified support to the governments proposed changes to the use of brownfield land.

CPRE planning officer Kate Houghton said: "Anxiety over the definition of sustainable development and transitional arrangements are especially prominent. This confirms that a lack of clarity in these areas could severely undermine the planning system."

"Our analysis demonstrates that the government cannot afford to push through their reforms without taking account of these widely held concerns. Changes need to be made to the planning system, but if we don’t get them right we risk causing long term damage to both our urban and rural landscapes."

The full survey can be found here.

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