The 2012 NPPF: A Digest of Decisions

The National Planning Policy Framework (‘NPPF’) is an extremely important planning document, setting out national planning policy. The Supreme Court in Tesco Stores Ltd v Dundee City Council [2012] UKSC 13 made it clear that the correct interpretation of development plan policies was a matter for the court. The same reasoning applies to national planning policy. It is important to be up to date with recent interpretations of the NPPF in the courts.

The original version of the NPPF was published in 2012. On the right of the page provides a Digest of decisions interpreting the original NPPF. This Digest is intended to assist those dealing with the NPPF by providing references to case law where the NPPF has been interpreted by the courts. It is broken down by section of the NPPF and, where appropriate, by paragraph. Paragraphs of the NPPF are expressed in the form ‘NPPF x’, whereas paragraphs of a judgment are in square brackets. The current version of the Digest relates to the original, 2012 edition of the NPPF.

A new version of the NPPF was published in the summer of 2018. When court cases interpreting the new NPPF are published, a new Digest will be produced to collect those decisions. A book concerning the interpretation of the NPPF, by Alistair Mills, is now available from Bath Publishing.

This online Commentary is made available for educational purposes only. The views expressed in it are those of the editor, Alistair Mills. The contents of this Digest do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such advice. The author and Landmark Chambers accept no responsibility for the continuing accuracy of the contents.

NPPF 1-5

Chase Milton Energy Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2014] EWHC 1213 (Admin), Timothy Straker KC
Dan Kolinsky appeared on behalf of the Secretary of State

“I am not at all convinced as to the merit of giving particular policies a label and then using that label as a means to argue that they inconsistent with other policies in the Framework. The Framework is intended to be just that, and one can refer in that instance to paragraph 1 of it.” [16]


Cheshire East Borough Council [2015] EWHC 410 (Admin), Lang J

“Paragraph 2 of the NPPF re-states the statutory provisions, and explains that the NPPF is a material consideration in planning decision-taking. However, I doubt that the Minister intended the NPPF to be used to routinely bypass local policies protecting specific local features and landscapes, as that would undermine the statutory scheme. Indeed, the NPPF emphasises the value of local development plans since they reflect the needs and priorities of local people for their area…” [57]

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