National Planning Policy Framework
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), revised in February 2019, sets out the government's planning policy approach for England and provides guidance. The opening paragraphs in the NPPF:
'1. The National Planning Policy Framework sets out the Government's planning policies for England and how these should be applied. It provides a framework within which locally-prepared plans for housing and other development can be produced.
2. Planning law requires that applications for planning permission be determined in accordance with the development plan [which includes all local plans and neighbourhood plans that are in force], unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The National Planning Policy Framework must be taken into account in preparing the development plan, and is a material consideration in planning decisions. Planning policies and decisions must also reflect relevant international obligations and statutory requirements.
3. The Framework should be read as a whole (including its footnotes and annexes). General references to planning policies in the Framework should be applied in a way that is appropriate to the type of plan being produced, taking into account policy on plan-making in chapter 3.'
- National Planning Policy Framework planning practice guidance on the natural environment
NB. The planning law reference in paragraph 2 above, is Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and section 70(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.