Industry-led sustainable development commission launches

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Commission aims to provide the industry with a working definition of sustainable development A new industry-led Sustainable Development Commission (SDC...

Commission aims to provide the industry with a working definition of sustainable development

A new industry-led Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) has been set up to create a clear cut method of assessing sustainable development.

The brain child of leading planning consultancy, Iceni Projects, the commission includes representatives from Land Securities, Crest Nicholson and Dentons. In addition, Shaun Spiers (Chief Executive at Campaign to Protect Rural England – CPRE), Waheed Nazir (Director of Regeneration at Birmingham City Council), Sue Smith (joint Chief Executive at Cherwell District Council and South Northamptonshire Council) and Janet Askew (Immediate Past President Royal Town Planning Institute - RTPI) will sit on the panel.

Former Planning and Housing Minister and Minister for London, Nick Raynsford, who is a consultant for Iceni, will Chair the commission.

The SDC will look to define a practical method for evaluating the sustainable credentials of development proposals, encompassing social, economic and environmental factors. Operating within the context established by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the SDC will seek to produce a universal ‘scorecard’ that can then be applied to developments to demonstrate their sustainable credentials.

Ian Anderson, Executive Director at Iceni Projects, said: “Sustainable development sits at the heart of the NPPF, and rightly so – it contributes to the ongoing success of our economy and the quality of all our lives. However, there is no 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.

“The SDC represents a broad spectrum of the industry, and the challenge will be to find a system that consistently captures the requirements for sustainable development in a clear and easy way across different scales of projects and different 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.”

Nick Raynsford, Chair of the new Sustainable Development Commission commented: “Along with Iceni, I firmly believe the NPPF can serve as the defining tool to bring sustainability into the mainstream. It will not be an easy task, and will require industry-wide support and collaboration to do so, but the prize to be gained from making progress is huge.”

The SDC will include a wide spectrum of organisations that represent both residential and commercial development. It will offer a single voice for those passionate about sustainable development from the private, public and academic sectors.

Waheed Nazir, Director of Regeneration at Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham is a city with big and bold aspirations when it comes to housing and the built environment. It is vital that we challenge ourselves as a city and an industry to enable us to get to the heart of some of our most pressing challenges and explore solutions that will deliver the breakthroughs in city scale sustainability. I am hugely excited about the opportunity to collaborate with industry experts and identify the innovative solutions that will be good for the future growth of the city.”

Chris Tinker, Regeneration and Strategic Land Chairman at Crest Nicholson welcomes the formation of the commission and comments: "Whilst the NPPF champions sustainable development there remains a lack of clarity as to what, in practice, constitutes sustainable development. The commission's work will help to bring the clarity that is required and assist plan makers and developers alike to formulate and deliver sustainable development proposals"

Two large-scale, mixed-use projects will be used to test the scorecard as it is developed by the SDC with the hope of a tried and tested version then being rolled out across the industry. 


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