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National Planning Policy Framework needs detailed backup

24 December 2012

A review of planning practice guidance by Lord Taylor of Goss Moor published today (Friday) has concluded that the government needs to improve its out of date planning guidance if the system is to operate effectively [1].


The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) welcomes the recognition in Lord Taylor’s review that “guidance can be essential and adds real value in terms of planning practice”.  It has always been clear that the National Planning Policy Framework alone is not sufficient to provide the detail needed to make the planning system work day to day.


In CPRE’s experience much of the existing guidance verges on being policy, and we therefore welcome the opportunity to respond to the new consultation on the priorities for guidance review [2] – and in due course to express a view on what any updated guidance actually says.


We agree with Lord Taylor that priority should be given to dealing with:


  • Viability of development
  • Housing market and land studies
  • The duty for local authorities to co-operate on strategic planning
  • Environmental issues, including wildlife protection and light pollution


A note of caution is needed in that Planning Minister Nick Boles seems to place the emphasis in his response on ‘rationalising advice’ and ‘making it easier to use’. We hope he will agree that quality of content and impact in practice is just as important.


CPRE also note that some important areas appear not to be seen as a priority:


  • Rural needs housing
  • Assessing the value of agricultural land – for food security


Responding to Lord Taylor’s report John Hoad, Head of Planning at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:


'Government has to be open and clear about the detailed rules it is using, particularly in respect of planning inspector decisions.  At present there is an over reliance on case by case interpretation of ill-defined statements in the NPPF.  Examples are meeting ‘objectively assessed needs’ for new housing and ‘deliverable’ and ‘viable’ development.  Current interpretations are problematic as they encourage a short term view of development viability and inadequate consideration of environmental impacts.  This is fuelling a damaging rush for green field development.'





Notes to Editors

[1] DCLG news, Planning practice guidance should be simpler:

[2] DCLG open consultation:



The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) fights for a better future for the English countryside. We work locally and nationally to protect, shape and enhance a beautiful, thriving countryside for everyone to value and enjoy. Our members are united in their love for England’s landscapes and rural communities, and stand up for the countryside, so it can continue to sustain, enchant and inspire future generations. Founded in 1926, President: Sir Andrew Motion, Patron: Her Majesty The Queen.



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