Out-Law News 1 min. read

NPPF 'safeguarding' terminology to be reviewed, says Boles

The UK government will review the terminology used in the National Planning Policy Framework's (NPPF) provisions on safeguarding land for future development, planning minister Nick Boles has said.

The NPPF states that local authorities should, where necessary, identify in their local plans areas of ‘safeguarded land’ between the urban area and the green belt, in order to meet longer-term development needs stretching well beyond the plan period.

In a House of Commons debate this week conservative MP Julian Sturdy said that there was confusion about the nature of safeguarded land and what its position within the local plan process should be.

"If we are to achieve a coherent and joined-up series of local plans across the country that promotes sustainable development while protecting green-belt land, there must be absolutely no confusion about what is required in the plans," Sturdy said.

Boles acknowledged that he had also been confused about the terminology used. He said that the word "safeguarded" seems to suggest protection, rather than an allocation for future development needs.

Boles said that when the NPPF is reviewed, the government will consider whether the wording can be better clarified. "We are happy to examine the terminology to clarify that such land is not safeguarded for ever and is reserved because of an evidence base for potential future need; and that the rest of the green belt is not subject to such possibilities," he said.

Boles said that the process under which local authorities can revise their green belt boundaries through a local plan process in consultation with the community is "painful and difficult". "It is right that it happens through an intensely transparent, open and democratic process that takes into account all the opinions expressed by all the different communities affected," he said.

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