There is no legal requirement for a neighbourhood plan to have a sustainability appraisal as set out in section 19 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. However, a qualifying body must demonstrate how its plan or order will contribute to achieving sustainable development. In order to demonstrate that a draft neighbourhood plan contributes to sustainable development, sufficient and proportionate evidence should be presented on how the draft neighbourhood plan guides development to sustainable solutions.
The Sustainability Appraisal (SA) of the Stroud District Council Local Plan is a useful source of information for communities preparing a neighbourhood plan. It considers and communicates the likely effects of the draft plan, and alternatives, in terms of sustainability issues, with a view to avoiding and mitigating adverse effects and maximising the positives.
An assessment of the draft neighbourhood plan’s contribution towards achieving the sustainability objectives set out by the Sustainability Appraisal of the emerging Stroud District Local Plan may be a useful approach for communities to demonstrate how their neighbourhood plan contributes to achieving sustainable development in the District.
A full sustainability appraisal may be the most robust manner to demonstrate how a neighbourhood plan contributes to achieving sustainable development. Guidance on sustainability appraisal of Local Plans should be referred to National Planning Practice Guidance.