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New Publication: Draft National Development Framework

The Welsh Government has published proposals for how and where it wants Wales to grow over the next twenty years.

Estimated reading time: 3 Minutes

11 October 2019

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

The Welsh Government has published proposals for how and where it wants Wales to grow over the next twenty years.

New Publication: Draft National Development Framework (PDF, 5,744KB)

The draft National Development Framework (NDF) was published for consultation on 7 August and sets out the Welsh Government’s strategy for addressing its national priorities through the planning system. The consultation period closes on 1 November.

The NDF:

  • sets out where nationally important growth and infrastructure is needed and how the planning system can deliver it;
  • gives direction for regional and local development plans;
  • gives policy context for decisions on planning applications for major infrastructure projects;
  • supports national economic, transport, environmental, housing, energy and cultural strategies; and
  • sits alongside Planning Policy Wales (PPW), which sets out the Welsh Government’s national planning policies.

This autumn, two Assembly Committees – Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs (CCERA) and Economy, Infrastructure and Skills (EIS) – will be scrutinising the draft NDF. They will be looking to influence the content of the NDF at this crucial stage.

The final draft of the NDF is due to be laid before the Assembly in April 2020 for a statutory period of 60 days.

The Assembly isn’t able to pass, amend or vote down the NDF as it would a piece of legislation, but it, or one or more of its Committees, can make recommendations. The Welsh Government must take these into account before publishing the final version, which is expected in September 2020.

Work on the NDF began in 2016 and there have been a number of important stages so far. This research briefing summarises events to date and provides an overview of:

Draft NDF Spatial Strategy

In summary, the main features of the draft NDF include:

  • significant employment and housing growth will mainly take place in three ‘National Growth Areas’:
    • Cardiff, Newport and the Valleys;
    • Swansea Bay and Llanelli; and
    • Wrexham and Deeside.
  • a secondary role for ‘Regional Growth Areas’ located around Wales;
  • urban growth to be supported by public transport and active travel (walking and cycling) networks;
  • 114,000 new homes needed by 2038, 47% of these to be affordable homes during the first five years;
  • three regions, each with its own Strategic Development Plan, to enable bespoke approaches in different parts of Wales;
  • each region has its own allocation for new homes by 2038:
    • North Wales, 19,400;
    • Mid and South West Wales, 23,400; and
    • South East Wales, 71,200.
  • improved transport links within Wales and cross-border with England, with support for the north Wales, Swansea Bay and south Wales Metros;
  • ‘Wind and Solar Energy Priority Areas’ where there is a presumption in favour of development and an acceptance of landscape change;
  • Mobile Action Zones to improve mobile coverage;
  • more electric vehicle charging infrastructure;
  • support for District Heat Networks;
  • a national forest and frameworks for enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem resilience;
  • greenbelts in north east and south east Wales;
  • a Valleys Regional Park;
  • policies for specific areas – Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and the Heads of the Valleys; and
  • policies for strategic infrastructure – Port of Holyhead, Cardiff Airport, North west Wales Energy and the Haven Waterway in south Pembrokeshire.

New Publication: Draft National Development Framework (PDF, 5,744KB)


Article by Elfyn Henderson, Senedd Research, National Assembly for Wales

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