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Revisions to the NPPF

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published a revised version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) on the 19th of February 2019. There are few major changes to the text – the revisions focus on clarification of key points. The main changes are as follows:

  • Footnote 37, relating to maintaining supply and delivery of strategic housing adds new text to clarify that where local housing need is used as a basis for calculating 5 year supply of housing it should be calculated using the standard method as set out in national policy.
  • Paragraph 177 has been amended in relation to the recent People Over Wind & Sweetman v. Coillte Teoranta case.

 Para 177 in 2018 version said: ‘The presumption in favour of sustainable development does not apply where development requiring appropriate assessment because of its potential impact on a habitats site is being planned or determined’.

Para 177 in 2019 version says: ‘The presumption in favour of sustainable development does not apply where the plan or project is likely to have a significant effect on a habitats site (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects), unless an appropriate assessment has concluded that the plan or project will not adversely affect the integrity of the habitats site’.

The presumption in favour of sustainable development therefore applies if the Appropriate Assessment concludes that the proposals will not adversely affect the integrity of the habitats site. This also confirms that mitigation measures can be taken into account during the screening stage for a Habitat Regulations Assessment.

  • Annex 2 updates the definition of ‘local housing need’ and clarifies that a justified ‘alternative approach’, in accordance with paragraph 60, could be pursued in the context of plan-making. The re-wording also removes the scope for such debates in the context of five year land supply cases.
  • The definition of what constitutes a ‘deliverable’ site has been re-worded in Annex 2. Housing sites which do not involve major development and have outline permission should “in principle” be considered to be “deliverable”.
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