What is sustainable development? It is development that meets current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It is the so-called ‘golden thread’ running though the National Planning Policy Framework and this Draft Plan.
How can this be achieved? By making sure that all sites and buildings approved for development contribute to a sustainable future for Durham City. This can only be done by ensuring a successful balance among environmental, social and economic outcomes:
The environmental function is to contribute to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment, all of which are particularly rich in Durham City. This function will include helping to increase biodiversity, using natural resources prudently as we move to a low carbon economy, minimising waste and pollution, and mitigating and adapting to climate change. In Durham City this requires particular attention to building resilience to flooding and safeguarding the high qualities of the built and natural environment.
The social function is to support strong, balanced, vibrant and healthy communities by providing the supply of housing required to meet the needs of present and future generations and by creating a high quality built environment with accessible local services that meet the community’s varied needs and support its health, educational, social and cultural well-being.
The economic function is to contribute to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy by ensuring that sufficient land of the right type is available in the right places and at the right time to support growth and innovation. It must also identify and coordinate development requirements, including the provision of a modern transport and communications infrastructure.
Sustainable development policies
The two sustainable development policies cover all proposed sites and buildings. All elements will have to be considered although not every one of them will necessarily be relevant to every proposal. These development policies have been included to avoid unnecessary repetition in later themes where detailed requirements will be specified.
Policy S1 Sustainable Development Requirements of all Development and Redevelopment Sites
Development proposals must have the right mix of land uses; use brownfield land to protect the Green Belt; protect wildlife and biodiversity; efficiently use natural and processed resources; show resilience to climate change; improve safety, paving, lighting and signage, and reduce crime; protect heritage assets; incorporate public benefits; and enable ease of access for all by public transport, walking and cycling.
Full policy here.
Policy S2 Sustainable Development Requirements of all New Building Developments
Development proposals must be in harmony with built and natural heritage; respect privacy of neighbouring property, use sustainable building techniques including the use of local materials; ensure minimal energy consumption and maximum energy generation; avoid impact on water quality and incorporate sustainable drainage approach; share technologies; and minimise waste production during construction and after-use.
Full policy here.