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05/12/2018

PPW focuses on placemaking

Words: Laura Edgar
Community-led planning / iStock

The Welsh Government’s 10th iteration of Planning Policy Wales (PPW) focuses on putting people and place at the heart of the planning system. It has been published today (5 December) by planning secretary Lesley Griffiths.

PPW states that the concept of placemaking introduces a key element in delivering the aspirations of the Well-being of Future Generations Act. It aims to ensure that planning decisions, big or small, “are going to improve the lives of both our current and future generations”.

Writing in PPW, Griffiths says productive and enterprising places are designed and sited to promote healthy lifestyles and tackle climate change. The policy would “help prepare for a more diverse population and a greater ageing population, by supporting the integration of services, embedding social cohesion, and ensuring, for example, that sites of new housing ensure equality, access to the Welsh language, and encourage a sense of belonging”.

“Good placemaking is essential to the delivery of sustainable development” – PPW

Griffiths said: “It is essential developments built today, which will last for many years, have a legacy of well-designed, sustainable places which will improve the lives of all.  

“Our new version of Planning Policy Wales is all about ensuring future developments have a lasting impact and enrich people’s lives.

“I want to make sure when planners and developers are formulating their plans and schemes, they think first and foremost about the people who will live there and how they will go about their everyday lives – something which doesn’t always happen. This involves thinking about environmental, social, cultural as well as economic needs, including the impact on both mental and physical health, caused by new developments.

“The new Planning Policy Wales will ensure we have well-designed spaces which will benefit future generations.”

Fossil fuels and renewable energy

PPW effectively bans coal extraction. It states that proposals for opencast, deep-mine development or colliery spoil disposal “should not be permitted”. If such applications are to be allowed, “wholly exceptional circumstances” must exist and proposals must clearly demonstrate why they are needed in the context of climate change emissions reduction targets and for reasons of national energy security.

The Welsh Government is clear that the continued extraction of all fossil fuels, including shale gas, coal bed methane and underground coal gasification, is “not compatible” with its targets for decarbonisation.

“The Welsh Government’s policy objective is therefore to avoid the continued extraction and consumption of fossil fuels.”

Applications for onshore oil and gas extraction, must be “robust” and include “credible evidence” to show that proposals conform to the “energy hierarchy”, including how they make a necessary contribution towards decarbonising the energy system.

Planning authorities are instructed to give significant weight to the Welsh Government’s targets to increase renewable and low-carbon energy generation, as part of its overall approach to tackling climate change and increasing energy security. They should define areas where wind and solar development would be permitted.

Protection for music venues

PPW incorporates the Welsh Government’s stance on protecting music venues. Griffths announced in May 2017 that she wanted an explicit reference to the ‘Agent of Change’ principle within national planning policy and that PPW would be updated.

It requires that a business or person who is responsible for a change, for example, a developer building near to an existing music venue, is responsible for ensuring that appropriate mitigating measures are put in place so there aren’t any complaints from the new residents regarding the noise generated by the music venue.

PPW also includes instruction on:

  • good design;
  • the Welsh language;
  • new settlements;
  • previously developed land; and
  • green belt and green wedges.

PPW can be found on the Welsh Government website.


* The Planner’s January magazine will include a Q&A with the Welsh Government’s chief planner Neil Hemington on all things PPW.


Read more:

News report: Chief planner weighs up new Planning Policy Wales

Griffiths publishes updated Planning Policy Wales for consultation

Griffiths to update planning policy to support music venues


Image credit | iStock

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