Deputy planning director Miles Gibson was outlining government thinking on PPS6 at the British Council of Shopping Centres conference in Liverpool.
He explained that for the first time local authorities will have to weigh retail projects' environmental impacts against their wider benefits and planners could refuse permission if the effect on climate change is too great.
"The new impact test brings in more factors for authorities to consider and allows them to weigh them up in a sensible way," Gibson maintained. "If the design is not good enough or there is a big impact on climate change, then the wider benefits are likely to be outweighed."
Gibson said more detailed guidance is included in the climate change policy supplement but explained that the DCLG wanted to "send out a signal" to developers.