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Liberal Democrats pledges NPPF review to deliver green growth

Delegates at the Liberal Democrat party conference in Glasgow have voted in favour of a proposal to review the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to ensure it contributes "positively to creating a zero carbon Britain or to long term sustainability".17 Sep 2013

The 'Green Growth and Green Jobs' paper sets out the Liberal Democrats' vision for a long-term strategy framework to set the UK on a "zero carbon path" for 2050. 

Planning related policies in the paper include a review of how the NPPF works in practice and, if necessary, a "toughening up" of relevant standards and guidance. 

"Although the principle of sustainable development runs through the NPPF, there is a danger that in seeking simplicity, local planning authorities’ interpretation and implementation of the policy may not actually deliver a more sustainable future, particularly where they have Local Plans that are incomplete, non-compliant or not up to date and thus challengeable by developers," it said. 

The party said it would ensure support is provided to local authorities when they formulate and implement their Local Plans. "The core principles of the planning process should be to empower local people, enhance and improve places, provide amenities and contribute to wellbeing and the natural environment," the paper said. 

The paper sets out policies to promote renewable electricity by removing planning barriers to renewable energy developments and ensuring that renewables are a priority in the NPPF's definition of "sustainable development". 

The party will also review planning guidance to reflect the "important role green and ‘blue’ water spaces and large trees have in countering the heat island effect in urban areas" and will use the planning system to seek to reduce emissions from horticulture by facilitating the use of low-grade heat from power stations and other sources to heat glasshouses.