Expert group launches online tool to assess scheme sustainability

A new online tool has been launched to assess how far development proposals meet the objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) definition of sustainable development.

Development: new sustainability tool launched
Development: new sustainability tool launched

The Sustainable Development Scorecard has been created by consultancy Iceni Projects - through the firm’s sustainable development commission (SDC) - to assess the extent to which proposals comply with the NPPF's presumption in favour of sustainable development.

The scorecard allows users to input information about the site and type of development in order to provide an objective assessment of the scheme’s sustainability.

The free-to-use tool provides two scores for each scheme. The first is a sustainability score, which assesses how closely the development proposal conforms to the NPPF’s definition of sustainable development.

The second figure is a parity score, which assesses how equally the three pillars are balanced. Equal representation of the three pillars is a key part of the NPPF, the firm says.

The SDC is a group set up by Iceni Projects last year to investigate ways of improving the process for assessing development sustainability. Its members include former planning minister Nick Raynsford, former planning inspector Roy Foster and Royal Town Panning Institute past president Janet Askew.

Raynsford, who chairs the commission, said the aim of the scorecard tool is "to provide a better and more rigorous understanding of how different factors can combine to achieve sustainability".

"There is no oversimplistic ‘pass-fail’ outcome," Raynsford said. "Instead, the scorecard gives, for the first time, an indication of how closely a scheme fits with the NPPF’s definition of sustainability, together with guidance on how this might be improved."

"We hope that we will see more sustainable schemes coming through as a result", he said.


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