CIHT has called for fundamental changes to the planning system to enable the government to deliver its infrastructure plans.
In its response to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s ‘Planning for the Future’ White paper, CIHT in discussion with the Transport Planning Society (TPS) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has made a series of key recommendations.
Sue Percy CBE, Chief Executive, CIHT said:
“This review of planning is a unique opportunity to address some of our fundamental concerns with the existing planning system and its ability to respond to the acute challenges including supporting sustainable growth as set out by the government in their White Paper.”
“Sustainable transport needs to be at the heart of the Planning White Paper, if we are to achieve net zero by 2050, deliver quality place and improve health and wellbeing.”
“We call on the government to adopt our recommendations on how to improve integration between planning and transport. The benefits of ensuring transport is considered at the earliest stage and throughout the planning process will ensure we can build and maintain the infrastructure people want and work towards a zero-net carbon future.”
“We have highlighted how the government can respond to these challenges through our Better Planning, Better Transport, Better Places advice where we outlined our vision for the future of planning in respect of people, places and transport.”
“Our detailed response focuses on six main areas where transport must be given greater importance if the planning reforms are to deliver real sustainable development, improve people’s lives and effectively tackle the emergencies of climate change, air pollution and obesity.”
Planning for the Future – recommendations
1) Support the vision of sustainable development
CIHT call for the vision, collaboration and engagement elements of the planning regime to be made statutory requirements. The approach should involve multiple stakeholders including highway and transport authorities, and operators to ensure that transport is at the heart of this vision. Engaging communities in an accessible and open way is also critical as they will have a little opportunity at a later stage.
2) Revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework
Revisions to the NPPF need to ensure that the requirement for sustainable transport provision features consistently. Rather than an afterthought, it must coherently underpin decision-making throughout.
3) Design guides at the national and local level
National and local design guides should ensure that sustainable transport is integral to design at each level – community, street, home: they need to relate to the forthcoming Manual for Streets update and previous CIHT advice on walking, cycling and public transport. CIHT recommend that this should be incorporated into the forthcoming Planning Policy Guidance on sustainable transport.
4) Ensure the Local Plan integrates transport throughout and into the delivery
Transport, mode share and accessibility targets and standards need to be fundamental components of the national rules for Local Plans. All Local Plans should be required to include targets for different modes for each stage throughout the life of the Plan. The level of accessibility by non-car modes should be the basis for determining any zoning or subsequent permissions granted as well as a part of the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (which CIHT are calling for to be made a statutory requirement).
5) The role of transport assessments
The current transport appraisal system needs to be urgently reformed to enable plans and developments to be tested against clear and agreed social, environmental, and economic objectives which reinforce the decarbonisation of transport and improve accessibility. It must move away from the predict and provide methodology that has seen increases in space for motor vehicles to the detriment of communities and space for healthier modes. Greater clarity is needed on how and when transport assessments will operate in the new planning process.
6) Increasing the capability and capacity of professionals
Much more work is needed to increase the capability, capacity and resources available for professionals to achieve better places, housing, and sustainable transport. CIHT are calling for new guidance to be developed on how planning and transport should be integrated to achieve sustainable outcomes. CIHT has developed proposals on what might be included in that guidance and how it would be possible to enhance the capacity and capability of the sector to respond to the challenges being experienced. We would welcome the opportunity to work with the relevant government departments to deliver this.