NFU response to draft National Policy Framework

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Major planning reforms - the NFU responds.

The National Planning Policy Framework needs to deliver a positive vision for farming.

The NFU has called on the Government to ensure the revised National Planning Policy Framework addresses the current and future needs of agriculture and rural communities in all geographical locations. The message comes in response to a Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government consultation on changes to national planning policy.

Proposed updates to the National Planning Policy Framework focus on how the town planning system can ensure development contributes to sustainable development.

It proposes changes to the development plan system to ensure the planning system can deliver 300,000 homes a year and incorporates commitments from the 25-year Environment Plan.

It could introduce more positive policy about development on rural business sites outside villages and contains an isolated homes policy that could bring about more homes on farm. It also includes updated policies on climate change and digital infrastructure.  

The Government has also hinted that more changes could be in the offing to bring more farm land forward for housing use.

The NFU is concerned that the Government’s main planning policy document needs to have a stronger farming focus, to value farmland and ensure farmers have more choice in how they seek to use their land and buildings in the future.

The updated Government National Planning Policy Framework is expected be introduced as early as July.

Read the NFU full response here -you will need to be a member and login.

NFU message to Government on the draft National Planning Policy Framework:

The NFU’s vision for the farming industry is for sustainable, profitable and progressive farm businesses that deliver for the market and our society, and are respected and rewarded for the goods they deliver. They should be embedded at the heart of the UK food system, and with an enhanced reputation at home and abroad.

We want future farming to be operating in a regulatory environment that is fair to all active farm businesses, irrespective of size or system. This is to assist them to be able to plan for opportunities to ensure a more profitable, sustainable farm sector respected by society for its high standards of food production, environmental care and animal welfare.

We would like to see this embedded in any updated National Planning Policy Framework overall to ensure that:

  • The value of using land for food production and the quality of agricultural land is recognised in decision making.
  • All development plans have policies to promote farming and food chain activities and to support wider rural communities.
  • Farmers and growers (tenants and landowners) have more choice as to how they manage their land and buildings, to enable them to develop sustainable farm business plans.
  • Other land uses and new development are appropriately designed so as not put unnecessary pressure on the agricultural land and the wider countryside.
  • Planning policies are future proofed to ensure farmers and growers can take the necessary opportunities to adapt to climate change and a low carbon economy

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