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Sustainable Development Commission launched by industry

Words: Laura Edgar
Planning / iStock_000035898050

An industry-led Sustainable Development Commission has been launched with the aim of creating a ‘clear-cut’ method of assessing sustainable development.

It also aims to provide the industry with a working definition of sustainable development and offer a single voice for those who are “passionate” about it from the public, private and academic sectors.

Organised by planning consultancy Iceni Projects, the commission includes representatives from commercial property company Land Securities, developer Crest Nicholson and law firm Dentons.

Alongside these representatives Janet Askew, immediate past-president of the RTPI, Shaun Spiers, chief executive at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Waheed Nazir, director of regeneration at Birmingham City Council, and Sue Smith, joint chief executive at Cherwell District Council and South Northamptonshire Council will sit on the panel.

Nick Raynsford, former housing and planning minister and minister for London and a consultant at Iceni Projects, will chair the commission.

The commission said it would look to define a practical method to evaluate the “sustainable credentials of development proposals, encompassing social, economic and environmental factors”. Operating within the context established by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), it is seeking to produce a “universal scorecard” that can be applied to development to demonstrate their sustainable credentials.

Two large-scale, mixed-use projects will be considered to test the scorecard as it is developed.

While sustainable development sits at the “heart” of the NPPF, Ian Anderson, executive director at Iceni Projects, said there isn’t any “consistent application of what sustainable development entails, either in the plan-making or decision-taking process”.

“We think there are compelling grounds for changing this, and to give planners and community groups the tools they need to deliver.”

Anderson added that the challenge for the commission will be to find a system that consistently captures the requirements for sustainable development in a clear and easy way across different project scales and land uses.

“In doing so, we believe we can both ease the path for projects that deliver on the objectives of the NPPF, as well as sending deficient proposals back to the drawing board.”

Askew said: "Iceni Projects has initiated this with an auspicious group of people, all of whom have much experience to contribute to devising a new set of sustainability criteria, which it is hoped will be adopted by the public and private sectors.

“I am optimistic about the outcomes of this new commission."

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