National Planning Policy Framework

9. Promoting sustainable transport

Paragraphs 102 to 111

102. Transport issues should be considered from the earliest stages of plan-making and development proposals, so that:

(a) the potential impacts of development on transport networks can be addressed;

(b) opportunities from existing or proposed transport infrastructure, and changing transport technology and usage, are realised – for example in relation to the scale, location or density of development that can be accommodated;

(c) opportunities to promote walking, cycling and public transport use are identified and pursued;

(d) the environmental impacts of traffic and transport infrastructure can be identified, assessed and taken into account – including appropriate opportunities for avoiding and mitigating any adverse effects, and for net environmental gains; and

(e) patterns of movement, streets, parking and other transport considerations are integral to the design of schemes, and contribute to making high quality places.

103. The planning system should actively manage patterns of growth in support of these objectives. Significant development should be focused on locations which are or can be made sustainable, through limiting the need to travel and offering a genuine choice of transport modes. This can help to reduce congestion and emissions, and improve air quality and public health. However, opportunities to maximise sustainable transport solutions will vary between urban and rural areas, and this should be taken into account in both plan-making and decision-making.

104. Planning policies should:

(a) support an appropriate mix of uses across an area, and within larger scale sites, to minimise the number and length of journeys needed for employment, shopping, leisure, education and other activities;

(b) be prepared with the active involvement of local highways authorities, other transport infrastructure providers and operators and neighbouring councils, so that strategies and investments for supporting sustainable transport and development patterns are aligned;

(c) identify and protect, where there is robust evidence, sites and routes which could be critical in developing infrastructure to widen transport choice and realise opportunities for large scale development;

(d) provide for high quality walking and cycling networks and supporting facilities such as cycle parking (drawing on Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans);

(e) provide for any large scale transport facilities that need to be located in the area1, and the infrastructure and wider development required to support their operation, expansion and contribution to the wider economy. In doing so they should take into account whether such development is likely to be a nationally significant infrastructure project and any relevant national policy statements; and

(f) recognise the importance of maintaining a national network of general aviation airfields, and their need to adapt and change over time – taking into account their economic value in serving business, leisure, training and emergency service needs, and the government’s General Aviation Strategy2.

105. If setting local parking standards for residential and non-residential development, policies should take into account:

(a) the accessibility of the development;

(b) the type, mix and use of development;

(c) the availability of and opportunities for public transport;

(d) local car ownership levels; and

(e) the need to ensure an adequate provision of spaces for charging plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles.

106. Maximum parking standards for residential and non-residential development should only be set where there is a clear and compelling justification that they are necessary for managing the local road network, or for optimising the density of development in city and town centres and other locations that are well served by public transport (in accordance with chapter 11 of this Framework). In town centres, local authorities should seek to improve the quality of parking so that it is convenient, safe and secure, alongside measures to promote accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists.

107. Planning policies and decisions should recognise the importance of providing adequate overnight lorry parking facilities, taking into account any local shortages, to reduce the risk of parking in locations that lack proper facilities or could cause a nuisance. Proposals for new or expanded distribution centres should make provision for sufficient lorry parking to cater for their anticipated use.

Considering development proposals

108. In assessing sites that may be allocated for development in plans, or specific applications for development, it should be ensured that:

(a) appropriate opportunities to promote sustainable transport modes can be – or have been – taken up, given the type of development and its location;

(b) safe and suitable access to the site can be achieved for all users; and

(c) any significant impacts from the development on the transport network (in terms of capacity and congestion), or on highway safety, can be cost effectively mitigated to an acceptable degree.

109. Development should only be prevented or refused on highways grounds if there would be an unacceptable impact on highway safety, or the residual cumulative impacts on the road network would be severe.

110. Within this context, applications for development should:

(a) give priority first to pedestrian and cycle movements, both within the scheme and with neighbouring areas; and second – so far as possible – to facilitating access to high quality public transport, with layouts that maximise the catchment area for bus or other public transport services, and appropriate facilities that encourage public transport use;

(b) address the needs of people with disabilities and reduced mobility in relation to all modes of transport;

(c) 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;

(d) allow for the efficient delivery of goods, and access by service and emergency vehicles; and

(e) be designed to enable charging of plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles in safe, accessible and convenient locations.

111. All developments that will generate significant amounts of movement should be required to provide a travel plan, and the application should be supported by a transport statement or transport assessment so that the likely impacts of the proposal can be assessed.

Footnotes

  1. Policies for large scale facilities should, where necessary, be developed through collaboration between strategic policy-making authorities and other relevant bodies. Examples of such facilities include ports, airports, interchanges for rail freight, public transport projects and roadside services. The primary function of roadside services should be to support the safety and welfare of the road user (and most such proposals are unlikely to be nationally significant infrastructure projects). 

  2. Department for Transport (2015) General Aviation Strategy