Planning for the Historic Environment

England's planning system has the biggest single influence over the future of the places in which we live, work and play. The objective of the planning system is sustainability: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (ref. 1). It aims to achieve this by planning land use to allow for sustainable development.

One of the three dimensions of sustainable development is its environmental role: contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment. The other two dimensions are a strong economy and a healthy and socially vibrant community (ref. 2).

The objective of sustainable development, as defined in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), is also the objective of local authorities when drawing up their local development plans that set out land use allocations and local planning policies. And the same is true for neighbourhood development plans, where they arise.

This section describes how plan-making is done and what local and neighbourhood development plans should say about the historic environment.


(1) Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (42/187), United Nations, 1987

(2) Paragraph 8, National Planning Policy Framework, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, July 2021