A new draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) unveiled by Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday urges local authorities in England to make provision for cycling and walking within their planning policies.
As Carlton Reid reports on BikeBiz, the media’s attention was grabbed by May calling on house-builders to prioritise constructing more homes rather than focusing on profits.
But the NPPF, which guides councils on planning-related matters relating to issues as diverse as housing, communications and the natural environment, could provide support for local authorities looking to promote active travel.
According to paragraph 105 of the draft document, “Planning policies should [inter alia] provide for high quality walking and cycling networks and supporting facilities such as cycle parking – drawing on Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans.”
Under paragraph 110, “applications for development should give priority first to pedestrian and cycle movements, both within the scheme and with neighbouring areas,” as well as ease of access to public transport links.
Another provision of the same paragraph is that such applications should “create places that are safe, secure and attractive – which minimise the scope for conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, avoid unnecessary street clutter, and respond to local character and design standards.”
As Reid, author of the books Roads Were Not Built For Cars and Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling, points out, the draft document, which is open for consultation until 10 May, is not entirely positive when it comes to active travel.
There is no longer any reference to ‘Garden City Principles’ designed to encourage the development of sustainable communities, while other provisions may be less stringent on issues such as health and compliance with the Climate Act 2008 than the previous version of the NPPF was.
The draft NPPF applies to England only, with responsibility for planning guidance in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland devolved to those countries’ own legislatures.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.