Planning and Local leadership

UK-GBC is working to help ensure that local authorities and business can truly drive sustainable development.

The framework within which our new developments and communities are delivered has undergone a significant overhaul in the last five years. This overhaul has been delivered through changes to the planning system and Building Regulations, and through the devolution of powers.

National Planning Policy Framework

In early 2012, Government published the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The new framework aimed to make the planning system less complex and more accessible, consolidating a huge amount of planning policy into one document (plus guidance). The NPPF places sustainability at the centre of planning, with an emphasis on the three pillars of sustainability and a ‘presumption in favour of sustainability’ which it states should be taken as the ‘golden thread’ running through plan-making and decision-making.

Housing Standards Review

Shortly after the launch of the NPPF the Government started its review of housing standards. Completed in March 2015 the Housing Standards Review (HSR) which aimed to rationalise and nationalise the many different standards applied to new build homes that existed at the local level. The HSR resulted in the adoption of new technical standards for homes into buidling regulations and the removal of powers for local authorities to require other building standards  in Local Plans, attempting to draw a line between building standards as defined by Building Regulations and the places and communities between the buildings, which are covered by planning policy.

UK-GBC responded to the Housing Standards Review in 2014.

UK-GBC ran a workshop with local authority planners and housing delivery partners in Autumn 2015 to discuss the impact of theses changes on the sustainability of housing-led developments. Read the workshop summary here.

See also the page on new buildings which contains further information on the housing standards review.


In the 2015 Budget, the Chancellor announced devolution deals for a number of City Regions in England: Sheffield City Region, Liverpool City Region, and Leeds, West Yorkshire and partner authorities and West Midlands combined authorities. These Cities will follow the lead of the Greater London Authority which already has devolved powers and the Manchester City Region which agreed a deal in 2014. 

UK-GBC has a growing interest in the role of cities and civic leaders in driving sustainability. We have run successful City Summits over the last two years, with both Manchester and Birmingham