Planning Portal

PPS 1: General Principles
The Department's Approach to Planning: Sustainable Development

11. Sustainable development seeks to deliver the objective of achieving, now and in the future, economic development to secure higher living standards while protecting and enhancing the environment. The most commonly used definition of sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987 Opens link in a new browser window). The Department is committed to the principles set out in the 1994 Government publication “Sustainable Development: The UK Strategy Opens link in a new browser window.”
12. In working towards sustainable development, the Department will aim to:
  • plan for the region’s needs for commercial and industrial development, food production, minerals extraction, new homes and other buildings, while respecting environmental objectives;
  • conserve both the archaeological and built heritage and natural resources (including wildlife, landscape, water, soil and air quality), taking particular care to safeguard designations of national and international importance;
  • shape new development patterns in ways which minimise the need to travel;
  • give preference, in the zoning of land, to the development of brownfield sites within built-up areas, before considering the development of greenfield sites, provided that this creates or maintains a good living environment.
  • encourage the use of already developed areas in the most efficient way, while making them more attractive places in which to live and work; and
  • concentrate developments that generate a large number of trips in places well served by public transport.
13. In formulating policies and plans and in determining planning applications the Department will be guided by the precautionary principle that, where there are significant risks of damage to the environment , its protection will generally be paramount, unless there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest.
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