CIHT – Opportunity must be taken to integrate transport into the planning system

Responding to the consultation on the government’s ‘Draft revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework and a new draft National Model Design Code’, the Chartered Institution for Highways and Transportation (CIHT) has called for further amendments to integrate transport into the UK planning system.

Andrew Hugill, Director of Policy and Technical Affairs, CIHT said: “The ‘Manual for Streets’ is highlighted as key guidance in the National Model Design Code and CIHT is currently working with the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to develop a revised version (Manual for Streets 3 (MfS3)) which will incorporate content and principles from Manual for Streets (MfS) and Manual for Streets 2 (MfS2).”

“To ensure high uptake of the principles in Manual for Streets its position must be strengthened and should become clear government policy. This would enable local authorities, developers, the planning inspectorate, and professionals engaged in developing better places to have the confidence to utilise this guidance.”

According to the CIHT, “The importance of Manual for Streets in creating better places has been recommended by several key reports:
• The House of Lords Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment ‘Building Better Places’ report recommended the use of MfS by all local authorities.
• Strengthening MfS position was a specific call in the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’s ‘Living with Beauty’ report .
• The Cabinet Offices Policy Lab carried out a scoping study into the use of MfS in 2019 and amongst its recommendations said DfT & MHCLG should align MfS3 with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).There is the opportunity to make MfS3 one of three types of guidance which sit underneath the NPPF along with Planning Policy Guidance and Visual Guidance.
• UCL’s ‘A housing design audit for England’.”

Hugill continued, “The integration of planning and transport plays a fundamental role in making development sustainable and the siting of this development must be at the core of planning policy.

The choice and availability of sustainable travel choices is a key factor for sustainable development. This needs to be a fundamental part of the planning process and recognise that transport authorities and operators need to be involved throughout the planning process from initiating the local or strategic plan to the determination of planning applications, thereby becoming part of the solution rather than a hurdle to be overcome.”

The CIHT argue that this could be a missed opportunity in what is likely to be the biggest overhaul of the planning system for some time. Hugill concluded, “On this basis – the proposed radical changes to the planning system as then set out will fail to do any better than before. CIHT believe that the white paper should support and require the delivery of a fully integrated planning and transport process, from the policy right through delivery. Importantly this must also extend for the lifetime of the development and related infrastructure and services.”

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