Thursday, 26 July 2012
Pre-NPPF advice that survived the bonfire
[Updated 27 July 2012]
Liz Beth from the Centre for Sustainable Energy, in Bristol, recently asked me precisely which pre-NPPF policy documents survive from the wanton attack by ministers on all the previous ministerial policy advice earlier this year. This is something that has puzzled many people, and I was glad to have the opportunity to sort this out.
The list of withdrawn ministerial policy documents is set out in Annex 3 to the NPPF. If a document is not listed there, it is still extant, and its advice still applies (unless it had previously been withdrawn – e.g. PPS6, PPS11, PPS15 and PPS16. PPS6 had been replaced by PPS4, and both PPS15 and PPS16 had been replaced by PPS5; both PPS4 and PPS5 are now withdrawn).
PPS7 was withdrawn in its entirety. Where confusion has arisen is that in the Planning Encyclopedia, a document identified as ‘Annex E’ was printed after Annex A to PPS7, but ‘Annex E’ was never a part of PPS7. Annex E was a saved part of an earlier version of PPG7. It therefore remains extant, although it is of little practical assistance, because all it does is to state the obvious with regard to agricultural permitted development.
However, PPS10 (on Sustainable Waste Management) was not withdrawn. It is still in force.
I was confused initially about PPG21/PPS21 Tourism. The answer is that PPG21 was withdrawn in 2006, and was replaced by ‘A Good Practice Guide to Planning for Tourism’ published on 1 September 2006. This document remains extant. (There never has been a PPS21.)
PPS22 is item 17 on the list of withdrawn policy documents in Annex 3 to the NPPF, so it has gone, but Liz Beth told me that there had been a separate Practice Guide or Note relating to the subject matter of PPS22, which I had been unable to find. I am grateful to Joe Ridgeon MRTPI for subsequently drawing my attention to “Planning for Renewable Energy: A Companion Guide to PPS22” published on 16 December 2004, which can still be found on the De-CLoG website. This guide discusses the planning and development of renewable energy schemes across England. The findings and recommendations in this report are those of the consultant authors and do not necessarily represent the views or proposed policies of the Department for Communities and Local Government. It does not therefore have authority as minsiterial policy, although it is published on the De-CloG website.
PPS25 is item 20 on the list of withdrawn policy documents in Annex 3 to the NPPF, and PPS25 Supplement: Development and Coastal Change is item 21 on the list. However, it would appear that the two corresponding Practice Guides have not been withdrawn (possibly an oversight?) and so remain extant. They are still on the De-CLoG website.
The same anomalous position may have arisen with the withdrawal of MPS1, possibly leaving the Planning and Minerals Practice Guide 2006 in place, although it was intended to be read alongside MPS1.
On the other hand, the following minerals policy documents definitely remain in being “until such time as they are cancelled or replaced” (to quote De-CLoG) - MPG4, MPG8, MPG9 and MPG14. In addition, National and regional guidelines for aggregates provision in England 2005-2020 (published in June 2009) and the Letter to Chief Planning Officers: National and regional guidelines for aggregates provision in England - 2005-2020 (published at the same time) both remain in being.
A new policy document – “Planning Policy for Traveller Sites” – was published as a free-standing document on the same date as the NPPF. So even on the day that ministers were making a bonfire of existing policy advice, they were publishing new guidance in addition to the NPPF! Like the Technical Guidance document (dealing with Flood Risk and Minerals Policy) which accompanies the NPPF, this advice on traveller sites was no doubt kept separate from the NPPF simply in order to enable ministers to boast that they have cut policy guidance down to around 50 pages - a specious claim when all the other extant documents are taken into account.
As noted earlier, the only circular to bite the dust was Circular 05/2005: Planning Obligations, but De-CLoG are currently combing through all the existing circulars to see which of them should be withdrawn. I would suggest that they should be a great deal less gung-ho about this exercise than they were in relation to the Planning Policy Statements. As I have previously pointed out, there is some useful (and even crucially important) technical and procedural advice in the circulars, notably in Circulars 11/95, 10/97 and 03/2009, among others.
© MARTIN H GOODALL