By Brian Barrow, Managing Director, Acorus Rural Property Services
There is no doubt that the planning ‘climate’ has moved significantly since the publication of the first National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012.The new NPPF was published on 24 July 2018. Will this make any difference to the poultry industry?
New poultry development being agriculture ticks lots of boxes in the new framework and this includes positive words on supporting a prosperous rural economy and expanding all types of business in rural areas. Diversification gets special mention which could include for example a business moving into poultry production.
What the NPPF doesn’t do unfortunately is to provide clear guidance on the handling of larger agricultural proposals and the long time it takes to get applications processed. Applicants should however show how their proposal meets the economic and social objectives without harming the environment. In a change from the previous NPPF, the three strands of sustainability, economic, social and environmental, are now ‘objectives’ rather than ‘roles’.
On larger proposals Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) will deal with these objectives. These are European led and therefore Brexit will have a role to play in the future.
The NPPF contains several statements on the Environment including protecting valued landscapes and sites of biodiversity. The poultry industry can expect to find it increasingly difficult to obtain permission on sites in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or near to ecological sites, particularly larger proposals.
One way the planning system has particularly been beneficial is re-using buildings with permitted development policies encouraging a range of development.
Some poultry sites might also find themselves well located for small housing development although generally only where accessible to services albeit there have been cases where other environmental gain can tip the balance, particularly where a large site is cleaned up. Again, the sustainability objectives are key.