Small but Mighty Changes in the Revised National Planning Policy Framework – Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change, Flooding and Coastal Change

2nd October 2018

In essence, the content of this section of the revised NPPF is much the same; there are some added points and change in the language used, but fundamentally the majority of content has been carried forward from the 2012 NPPF. This section has now been broken up with sub-headers addressing ‘planning for climate change’, ‘planning and flood risk and ‘coastal change’.

The revised NPPF reinforces the importance of planning for climate change and being proactive in this. The opening paragraph sets the tone for this section, supporting the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate, taking full account of flood risk and coastal change.

The majority of changes in this section are focused on the planning and flooding sub-section, with no significant changes regarding climate change and coastal changes. Within the planning and flood risk sub-section, there is a stronger emphasis on the future situation and the cumulative impacts.

The most significant changes in this section are:

  • Taking into account the long-term implications for flood risk, coastal change, water supply, biodiversity and landscapes, and the risk of overheating from rising temperatures (p149);
  • Increased emphasis on the requirement to demonstrate that risk can be managed through adaption measures when new development is brought forward in vulnerable areas (p150);
  • Greater emphasis on directing development away from areas at highest risk, and where development is necessary in such areas, making development safe for its lifetime (p155);
  • Strategic policies should consider cumulative impacts in, or affecting, local areas suspectable to flooding, rather than just looking at the flood risk impact of individual development sites (p156);
  • The sequential test requires the consideration of natural flood management where appropriate (p157);
  • In terms of Flood Risk assessments, there is an increased emphasis on including evidence on the need to consider resistance and resilient and sustainable drainage systems. There is also reference to an ‘agreed emergency plan’ (p163); and
  • There are now specific requirements for major developments and sustainable drainage systems (p165).

There are slight alterations in the language which give more emphasis to certain elements and some new additions. Generally, the profile of the whole section has been raised, which reflects the wider Government targets of addressing climate change. However, there are no significant changes that are going to revolutionize how we approach the topic of climate change, flooding or coastal change.

To find out more or how this affects your planning applications, please contact us on 01256 766673.

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