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2.5.0 National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2012

St Andrew's, Blagdon © Mendip Hills AONB Unit

The National Planning Policy Framework replaced the majority of previous Planning Policy Statements. Recognition of the importance of protected landscapes is stated in Section 115 ‘great weight should be given to conserving landscape and scenic beauty in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which have the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty.’ The term ‘great weight’ is significant and is one of the most stringent legal tests that can be applied under planning law. In relation to major development the NPPF states that planning permission should be refused for major development in AONBs except in exceptional circumstances and where they can be demonstrated they are in public interest. The ‘presumption in favour’ of sustainable development does not apply in AONBs is confirmed by NPPF para 14 footnote 9. The NPPF requires planning policies to plan for biodiversity (s117) at a landscape-scale across local authority boundaries and address green infrastructure.