EDG and the NPPF

Changes to the national planning policy framework.

The national planning policy framework was adjusted on the 20th July 2021. Outlined is a summary of the key changes.

Improving design quality

The overarching social objective of the planning system focuses more on improving the aesthetic of places than before. New developments are encouraged to be regarded as “beautiful and sustainable” (paragraph 126) and new developments that are not of a good quality of design will be refused. Councils are also now required to produce local design codes or guides that reflect local character and design references that encourage developments to be “beautiful” (paragraph 128). 


There have been several changes to further incorporate environmental sustainability in the NPPF as the assumptions have been adjusted to include mitigation and adaptation of climate change. An example of a change emphasises using trees in new developments e.g. new streets should be tree lined and retain existing trees as much as possible. It is also now stated that planning authorities should work with local highway officers and tree officers to ensure that the rights trees are planning in the right place (paragraph 131). Moreover, the United Nations climate goals have been added as an example of goals the UK has to follow as part of this (paragraph 7).

Limits of permitted development rights

Permitted development should now only be restricted if wholly unacceptable adverse impacts were to occur. This should be based on robust evidence and applied to the smallest geographical area possible (paragraph 53).

There have however been tighter restrictions on governing whether isolated homes in the countryside can be built as a design can only be built if it is “truly outstanding”, whereas it could previously be built it if was considered innovative or outstanding (paragraph 79).

Changes to timescale of development

There is now a requirement for faster delivery of public service infrastructure. Local planning authorities are required to work proactively and positively with promoters, delivery partners and statutory bodies to plan for required facilities and resolve key planning issues before applications are submitted. These include faster delivery of further education colleges, hospitals and prisons (paragraph 96).

On the other hand, development plan policies for proposed large new settlements, such as new towns or significant extensions to existing towns, has been increased to have a 30 year timescale rather than the usual 15 years (paragraph 22).

Flood risk management

There is clarification of planning and flood risk policy to manage any flooding with emphasis on using green and other infrastructure to reduce the causes and impacts of flooding. It encourages an integrated approach to flood risk management by making use of natural food management techniques (paragraph 160).

Removal of statues

When considering applications to remove or alter a historic statue, plaque, memorial or monument, Councils should now retain and explain statues rather than removing them (paragraph 198).

This section will reproduce key policies and guidance from the NPPF that are both relevant to and in accordance with those of the updated EDG.

The sub-sections on the left identify the relevant sections from the National Planning Policy Framework that relate to Essex Design Guide Content.

Page updated: 3/08/2021

Make the most of the Essex Design Guide, register today

As well as ensuring you are always in the know about future changes and updates to the Essex Design Guide, registering with us will enable to you to add and manage bookmarks throughout the site, so your most-used areas of the guide are always easy to find.

Register for updates

© 2024 Copyright Essex County Council. All rights reserved.