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Environment Environment

Encourage best practice in the design of buildings and public spaces

Last updated: 09:12am 16 January 2019

We will encourage the very best practice in the design of buildings and public spaces, including a review of the design of government buildings, to ensure that when the state builds, it makes a positive contribution to a local area.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.25

Our verdict

In March 2012, the coalition government created the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which brought together all planning rules into a single document. The NPPF specifically addressed the issue of positive local impact in building design: “Good design is a key aspect of sustainable development, is indivisible from good planning, and should contribute positively to making places better for people.”

The current government’s 25 year environment plan, which sets the direction of environmental policies for the next 25 years, was published in early 2018 and has similar concerns. For Secretary of State Michael Gove, “new development should result in net environmental gain”.

The plan is encouraging, but doesn’t make any mention of the “design of buildings and public spaces”. Also, as part of this promise the government pledged “a review of the design of government buildings”. We haven’t found any evidence that such a review is being undertaken, or that one has been scheduled. Based on all of this we consider this policy ‘not started’. We’ll be looking out for any activity on this pledge so follow this policy for updates.

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