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NPPF and Sustainable Development Simplified

Top tips for Design Teams

Involve a Sustainability Specialist early in the Planning and Design Process (RIBA Stage C).Setting down sustainable principles, broad renewables strategies and designing in sustainable features at the masterplan stage will save substantial time and costs later in the process. As part of the design team, your sustainability advisor will gain clarity and negotiate with local authority planners to help shape the scheme to ensure sustainability goals may be achieved without compromise to the scheme’s viability.Local Planning, Energy, CO2 and the NPPF. Obtain clear direction from the Local Planning Authority on their sustainable goals.

Many local Planning Authorities may be able to defer in part or fully to their own pre-NPPF guidance on Sustainability under Transitional Arrangements, some of which have very stringent Renewable Energy and CO2 emissions policies. For others, policy guidance isn’t so clear. Gaining clear direction is critical.

Challenge the Policy norms.Delivering sustainability and viability for a project will mean regularly challenging the policy norms. Dialogue with Local Authority Planners over Policy compliance is critical as this will have an enormous impact on the scheme and its viability. Absolute clarity from the local Planning Authority on their sustainable goals will save time and scheme costs.
Demonstrating the 3 elements of Sustainability – Economic, Social and Environmental.The NPPF definition of sustainability is set out in the The Brundtland Commission Report which developed the most accepted and used definition since 1987. The definition is “constructively ambiguous.” Some may say destructive and a recipe for anarchy. However, an important conclusion is that sustainable development is a process, not an end in itself. Participation and genuine dialogue among stakeholders are key prerequisites for sustainable development.Develop Alternative approaches.

Ensuring validation alongside the rest of the Planning application is one thing, but a knock back through refusal at planning application stage will cause costly delays and replanning. Have an alternative sustainability strategy approach.

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