The environment and planning vision and the local environment plan: inextricably linked

There is an idea among many that the local environment plan will successively follow the environment and planning vision. They are often wrongly considered separate from each other, when in fact they are inextricably linked.

After all, new initiatives are assessed against both policy (the environment and planning vision) and rules (the local environment plan). Without a clear policy for the future, it is not clear what rules should be included in the local environment plan to ensure the ambitions set out in the environment and planning vision can be achieved.

Clash tests

A well-thought-out integrated assessment framework in the environment and planning vision can ensure the desired consistency with the local environment plan. In this assessment framework, different ambitions are weighed against each other. For example, how do topics such as nature, urbanisation and the energy transition relate to each other? What importance is a municipality willing to attach to all these ambitions?

Clash tests, which many municipalities are already conducting, are an excellent means of making explicit which ambitions are compatible and which are not. In addition, these tests help to formulate ambitions as meticulously as possible.

Due to the more abstract nature of the environment and planning vision, ambitions are often given a certain bandwidth in the integrated assessment framework (‘we strive for a greener municipality by 2050’). This means that the assessment framework is too generic to assess initiatives at the plan level.

Concrete standards

This is where the local environment plan comes in. In the local environment plan, the assessment framework is translated into concrete standards (the rules). This allows explicitly defining the bandwidth by including a minimum or a maximum for a given ambition. For instance, ‘there will be 50 mof green space per inhabitant in the city centre area by 2050’.

Establishing a guiding philosophy in the environment and planning vision helps municipalities decide where the emphasis will be on facilitation and where they actually want to guide towards achieving the ambitions. Are there areas where there should be a greater focus on a particular ambition than in other areas? The guiding philosophy will then be useful when determining the development space in the different subareas of the local environment plan.

Therefore, it is important to already consider during the drafting of the environment and planning visions how exactly they will be elaborated in the local environment plan. This will allow us to contribute to the successful realisation of the ambitions.

Kara and Thessa Fonds explain this subject in short

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