Deeley Freed, an independent group of property companies, sought to influence the Government’s revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) consultation at a very late stage following a European Court of Justice (ECJ) Ruling on Habitats Regulation Assessment that threatened sustainable housing development in the UK.


TFA progressed a nimble and intensive political and policy engagement programme including face-to-face meetings and telephone discussions with key influencers ahead of the publication of the Government’s response to the NPPF consultation. Our recommended strategy highlighted the “housing delivery” impact of the ECJ ruling and called on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to not switch off the presumption in favour of sustainable development and consider updating the emerging NPPF revisions so that, if a plan/project had a positive appropriate assessment, the presumption in favour of sustainable development should still apply.


TFA developed a network of supportive political, industry and stakeholder “advocates” and encouraged them to make representations to MHCLG during the very tight policy influencing window calling for the NPPF to be revised.

Our successful engagement programme resulted in Government taking forward our recommendations. On the 26 October 2018, MHCLG published a technical consultation on updates to national planning policy and guidance. This included the suggested revised paragraph stating: “the presumption in favour of sustainable development does not apply where the plan or project is likely to have a significant effect on a habitats site (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects), unless an appropriate assessment has concluded that there will be no adverse effect from the plan or project on the integrity of the habitats site”.