Industry commission to produce sustainable development toolkit

A new industry-led commission has been established with the intention of defining a 'practical method for evaluating the sustainable credentials of development proposals'.

Development: 'no consistent application' of what sustainability entails
Development: 'no consistent application' of what sustainability entails

The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), established by planning consultancy Iceni Projects, will include representatives from developers Land Securities, Crest Nicholson and law firm Dentons.

In addition, Shaun Spiers, chief executive of countryside campaign group the Campaign to Protect Rural England; Waheed Nazir, director of regeneration at Birmingham City Council; Sue Smith, joint chief executive at Cherwell District Council and South Northamptonshire Council; and Janet Askew, immediate past president Royal Town Planning Institute, will also sit on the panel.

Former planning and housing minister Nick Raynsford will chair the commission.

According to a statement from the commission it will "look to define a practical method for evaluating the sustainable credentials of development proposals, encompassing social, economic and environmental factors."

It added that, "operating within the context established by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the SDC will seek to produce a universal ‘scorecard’ that can then be applied to developments to demonstrate their sustainable credentials."

Two "large-scale, mixed-use projects will be used to test the scorecard as it is developed by the SDC with the hope of a tried and tested version then being rolled out across the industry", the statement said.

Ian Anderson, executive director at Iceni Projects, said: "There is no consistent application of what sustainable development entails, either in the plan-making or decision-taking process. We think there are compelling grounds for changing this, and to give planners and community groups the tools they need to deliver.

"The SDC represents a broad spectrum of the industry, and the challenge will be to find a system that consistently captures the requirements for sustainable development in a clear and easy way across different scales of projects and different land uses. In doing so, we believe we can both ease the path for projects that deliver on the objectives of the NPPF, as well as sending deficient proposals back to the drawing board."

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