This does not mean focusing on walking and cycling opportunities as is frequently used by developers as lip service to comply with the principle. Nor should sustainability be pursued at a cost to the local community for the general good but to address both local community and general needs in a balanced fashion. A great description of sustainability is covered in direct quotes from the National Planning policy Framework (NPPF) as below:
“Item 6. The purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development. The policies in paragraphs 18 to 219, taken as a whole, constitute the Government’s view of what sustainable development in England means in practice for the planning system.
Item 8. These roles should not be undertaken in isolation, because they are mutually dependent. Economic growth can secure higher social and environmental standards, and well-designed buildings and places can improve the lives of people and communities. Therefore, to achieve sustainable development, economic, social and environmental gains should be sought jointly and simultaneously through the planning system. The planning system should play an active role in guiding development to sustainable solutions.
Item 9. Pursuing sustainable development involves seeking positive improvements in the quality of the built, natural and historic environment, as well as in people’s quality of life.
Item 10. Plans and decisions need to take local circumstances into account, so that they respond to the different opportunities for achieving sustainable development in different areas.
Item 14. At the heart of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is a presumption in favour of sustainable development, which should be seen as a golden thread running through both plan-making and decision-taking. unless:
– any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole; or
– specific policies in this Framework indicate development should be restricted.”
The principle of sustainable development should not be used to override any specific restriction evident in the NPPF and the related guidance.
The overarching phrase, in the opinion of SAFE, is “positive improvements” “in people’s quality of life”.