National Development Framework: Cabinet Secretary to make Plenary statement

Published 26/04/2018   |   Last Updated 27/05/2021   |   Reading Time minutes

On Tuesday 1 May 2018 the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, will make a statement on the National Development Framework (NDF).

The Cabinet Secretary is expected to announce the first iteration of the NDF, in the form of a consultation on issues, options and a preferred option. The consultation is due to open on the day before the statement - Monday 30 April 2018.

This will be the second of two major Welsh Government planning consultations this spring. The other, which is already underway, focuses on a ‘completely reworked’ Planning Policy Wales (PPW), and is due to close on 18 May 2018. See our previous post for more on the PPW consultation.

What is the National Development Framework?

The NDF is required by the Planning (Wales) Act 2015 and will set out the Welsh Government’s policies on development and land use in a spatial context. It will set out a 20 year land use framework and be reviewed at least every five years.

The NDF will replace the Wales Spatial Plan, which was largely considered to be ineffective. Crucially, and unlike the Wales Spatial Plan, the NDF will have development plan status. This means that the plans that sit below it – Strategic Development Plans (SDPs) and Local Development Plans (LDPs) – must be consistent with it.

The Welsh Government summarises the purpose of the NDF as follows;

  • sets out where nationally important growth and infrastructure is needed and how the planning system can deliver it;
  • provides direction for SDPs and LDPs;
  • supports the determination of applications under the Developments of National Significance (DNS) regime. Further reading on DNS can be found in our DNS briefing (PDF 498KB);
  • sits alongside PPW, which sets out the Welsh Government’s national planning policies and will continue to provide the context for land use planning; and
  • supports national economic, transport, environmental, housing, energy and cultural strategies and ensures they can be delivered through the planning system.

The Planning (Wales) Act 2015 requires the final draft of the NDF to be considered by the National Assembly before the final NDF is published.

The Assembly will have 60 days (excluding recess) to consider the draft NDF. The Welsh Government must take account of any resolution or recommendations made by the Assembly, or any of its committees, in deciding whether or not the draft NDF should be amended.

The Welsh Government must publish a statement alongside the final NDF outlining how it has had regard to the Assembly’s resolutions or recommendations.

The current timetable (below) shows the draft NDF being considered by the Assembly in April – June 2020. The final NDF is due to be published in September 2020.

What work has already taken place?

The Welsh Government has undertaken a call for evidence and projects to help inform the development of the NDF.

The call for evidence asked for national level evidence and projects that will help Wales meet its various national objectives. It gave the following as examples that could be relevant to the NDF:

  • all-Wales studies looking at the potential for renewable energy generation, connectivity issues between different parts of Wales, environmental issues covering multiple regions; and
  • issues which relate to a geographically smaller area but which are of national significance, such as power stations or nationally important habitats.

Evidence and projects submitted were considered in the context of the development planning system and against the seven Well-being goals, as set out in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

The Welsh Government has published a summary of responses to the call for evidence.

What is this process for completing the final version?

The Planning (Wales) Act 2015 requires the Welsh Government to publish a Statement of Public Participation setting out how it will consult with the public during the development of the NDF. This document was published in November 2016 following consultation in early 2016.

The full NDF timetable is as follows:

Article by Elfyn Henderson, National Assembly for Wales Research Service