Revised NPPF document includes brownfield test

The revised National Planning Policy Framework includes an explicit reference to prioritising 'brownfield' land for development and says that decision-makers should recognise the 'intrinsic character and beauty' of the countryside.

Brownfield: revised NPPF says that councils should re-use previously developed land
Brownfield: revised NPPF says that councils should re-use previously developed land

Planning minister Greg Clark told MPs today that the revised NPPF – which condenses more than 1,000 pages of policy guidance into around 50 - "makes clear what was always implicit: that councils’ policies must encourage brownfield sites to be brought back into use".

He added that the revised NPPF "recognises the intrinsic value and beauty of the countryside, whether specifically designated or not".

The NPPF document, published this afternoon, says that "planning policies and decisions should encourage the effective use of land by re-using land that has been previously developed (brownfield land), provided that it is not of high environmental value".

It also included "recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside" among 12 core planning principles which it said should "underpin both plan-making and decision-taking".

Campaigners had warned that the draft NPPF had appeared to propose removing the "brownfield first" policy which requires housing developers to use previously developed sites before greenfield land.

The draft NPPF had omitted the term "brownfield".

Instead, it said that, where practical and consistent with other objectives, "allocations of land for development should prefer land of lesser environmental value".

Last autumn, planning minister Greg Clark hinted that the government may look again at the wording of the NPPF to make sure local authorities prioritise the redevelopment of derelict land.

He told an event organised by lobby group the British Property Federation in September: "We want to capture a definition that makes sure that we have an obligation on authorities to bring forward any sites of the lowest environmental values.

"If not mentioning brownfield at all leads people to conclude of a different intention then again without pre-empting the consultation that is something that I am hearing from what’s been said already".

The next issue of Planning, to be published on Thursday 5 April, will contain in-depth analysis of the revised NPPF, including the results of an online survey of practitioners’ views on the reforms. Details of how you can take part in the survey will be released tomorrow.

The National Planning Policy Framework is available here.

NPPF live blog: Click through for all the latest developments as the government unveils the final draft of the national planning policy framework (NPPF).

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