Future Wales - The National Plan 2040

‘Future Wales – the National Plan 2040’ (“FWNP”), fulfils the Welsh Ministers obligations to adopt a National Development Framework within the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, as amended by the Planning (Wales) Act 2015.

FWNP sets out the Welsh Government’s strategies for the direction and development of Wales and addressing key national priorities through the planning system. FWNP was published on February 24th 2021 and replaces the Wales Spatial Plan. The FWNP is a step forward from the Wales Spatial Plan as it forms part of the statutory development plan, meaning its contents carry weight in the planning process. FWNP will therefore play a significant role in planning decision making, and will provide an important foundation for regional and local planning in the future.

Planning Policy Wales, which provides planning policy on an all-Wales basis, has been updated to align with the FWNP.

The key themes of the FWNP are health, sustainability and prosperity for Wales – in which there is an emphasis on support for renewable energy, decarbonisation, delivery of affordable housing, a commitment to metros, and creating places with a thriving Welsh language. Examples of FWNP key features include:

  • A housing policy focus of delivering new affordable homes, with local authorities setting overall housing requirements with an intention to achieve, 114,000 new homes by 2038 potentially leading to an increase of 4% in the population of Wales, a 10% target increase in Welsh-speakers and 70% of power consumed to be generated by renewables by 2030;
  • Expanding the national and regional growth areas and adopting a four region (North, Mid, South West and South East Wales) approach;
  • A criteria based policy for renewable and low carbon energy generation of all types, with reference to a small number of broadly identified pre-assessed areas where there will be a presumption in favour or large scale on-shore wind energy; and
  • A requirement to identify Green Belts in the South East Wales and North Wales regions, with consideration to be given to a further Green Belt in the South West.

As Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford sets out in the foreword to the FWNP, “the publication of Future Wales is a major milestone in the ongoing development of a distinctively Welsh planning system”. It will be interesting to see how over the next few years, FWNP shapes future planning decisions in Wales.

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