No more tinkering, better data collection and Green Belt review essential for continued NPPF success

The British Property Federation (BPF) has praised the pro-growth principles of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and its progress thus far, but cautioned that regular assessment of its operation is necessary, and warned that further changes made to the framework could be detrimental to its implementation. It has also recommended a significant review of Green Belt policy in order to help meet housing demand.

Giving evidence to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee as part of its inquiry to assess the operation of the NPPF, BPF Chief Executive Liz Peace suggested that some areas of the Green Belt could be used to help supply housing, and said that the prohibitive nature of the Green Belt has sometimes led to travel to work times increasing, which in turn causes problems such as traffic congestion and sustainability issues.

Liz Peace, Chief Executive of the BPF, said:

“We would like to see a serious examination of the possibility of being more flexible about using the Green Belt – not all of it, as there are absolutely some areas that must be preserved at all costs, but I think we do need to be a little more sensible and mature about how we tackle the green belt.”

Peace also commented on the importance of allowing the NPPF to bed in, and of the need for regular data to be collected, so that the framework’s impact, broadly agreed to be positive, might be accurately monitored. She asked the committee to “please not recommend any tinkering to the NPPF.”

Peace went on to say:

“What the industry wants above all else is a period of settling down and stability, getting used to just how the NPPF is panning out in practice. I think that during that period the collection of data about how it is actually working is would be extremely useful as I think a lot of the comment that has been made is based on hearsay, individual cases, and people writing to MPs because they have a particular grievance, rather than a wholesale collection of good quality data.”