Parliamentary committee brands reforms ‘contradictory and confusing’

The government’s National Planning Policy Framework is “contradictory and confusing”,  a Commons committee has warned.

In a letter to prime minister David Cameron, MPs on the Enivronmental Audit Committee warned him the government’s proposed “presumption of sustainable development” was “unsatisfactory” and open to legal challenges.

Joan Walley, Labour MP and chair of the committee, said: “As it currently stands, the new planning policy framework appears contradictory and confusing.

“It pays lip service to sustainable development without providing a clear definition, potentially leaving future planning decisions open to legal challenges.”

“There are environmental limits to how much development any one area can sustain and the government should acknowledge this in the final draft of the NPPF.”

“If the new planning framework protects our green belt and countryside, as the government claims, then there should be no problem in defining sustainable development more clearly to avoid misinterpretation.”