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NPPF: Overview and effect on Pre Planning and Engineering Services

The new National Planning Policy Framework was published on the 27th March with accompanying technical guidance for good practice.  This is now the fundamental basis of planning decisions and we overview the key issues relating to our services below.  For further information and queries please contact us at

Land Quality Assessment, Contamination and Ground Conditions

The objectives for land quality have been largely retained from the revoked PPS 23 and PPG14, as has the promotion of brownfield land.  New development is required to demonstrate that it is ‘suitable for its new use’ (taking into account ground conditions and land instability) and not Contaminated Land under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act as demonstrated by ‘adequate site investigation’ using existing technical guidance.  Importantly, the policy highlights the minimum requirement of a desk study and site reconnaissance, completed by a Competent Person for any development.  The revocation of the model planning conditions for land affected by contamination may lead to some variance in planning wording between authorities and so pre-application is advisable in this regard.

Contact: James Clay (Contamination) or Liz Brown (Geotechnics)

Flood Risk

The new Framework and Technical Guidance revokes PPS 25, however the technical criteria for Flood Risk Assessments remain largely unchanged. Local Planning
Authorities are advised to only consider development in flood risk areas appropriate where informed by a site-specific flood risk assessment. Local Plans will continue to be supported by Strategic Flood Risk Assessments and should follow a sequential approach in the allocation of development sites. The Exception Test, when applicable, no longer includes a requirement for development to be located on previously developed, brownfield land, and now contains only two objectives relating to sustainability and the safety of the development and its users with the aim of reducing the overall risk of flooding. Tables D.1, D.2, D.3, B.1, and B.2 from PPS 25 covering flood zone definition, flood risk vulnerability, and climate change have been directly reproduced in the new Framework, and Environment Agency ‘Standing Advice’, available online, still applies.

Contact: Simon Boots


Whilst the NPPF does not have a bearing on the requirement for EIA for development proposals, the revocation of various technical guidance documents requires extra care to
be taken when establishing the scope of EIAs with Local Planning Authorities.  This is perhaps best illustrated through the revocation of PPG24: Planning and Noise, as the NPPF and its technical guidance does not specify absolute noise levels against which developments should be considered (and these are often not explicitly stated within Local Plan policies) and there is the potential for differing interpretations on what is a significant/acceptable level of noise between authorities.

Contact: Thomas Wells


The NPPF (which replaces PPG13: Transport) still favours sustainable transport modes and requires a Transport Statement or Transport Assessment for significant developments.  However it also now requires that Plans and decisions should: protect and exploit opportunities for the use of sustainable transport modes for the movement of goods and people; take account of safe and suitable access to the site all people; and, consider improvements that can be undertaken within the transport network that cost effectively limit the significant impacts of the development.

The Frameworks general presumption in favour of development is equally applied to the transport aspects, stating that; ‘Development should only be prevented or refused on transport grounds where the residual cumulative impacts of development are severe’.

The NPPF requires that Plans should protect and exploit opportunities for the use of sustainable transport modes for the movement of goods and people and, in order to demonstrate this, requires all developments which generate significant amounts of movement provide a Travel

Contact: Alan Dumbrell

Policy and Guidance Linkclick here