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The Sustainable Development Scorecard

Posted 06/12/2017

by Dan Jestico

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Last week Iceni Projects and the Sustainable Development Commission launched the Sustainable Development Scorecard; a new free online tool that will remove the ambiguity from the National Planning Policy Framework’s (NPPF) definition of sustainable development.

The NPPF, as we are frequently reminded, has a “golden thread of sustainable development” running through it. But when is a development sustainable?

This question is one that has caused problems in planning decisions, appeals and local plan policy, as the NPPF provides no clear-cut way of assessing a schemes criteria. In short, we know that sustainable developments have a balance of the three pillars of economic, environmental and social factors beyond the red line boundary of a site – a legacy, if you will, beyond the pages of a planning report. But, even though we have outliers and parameters for sustainability, there is still too much for subjectivity within the current version of the NPPF.

It is this subjectivity that led to the creation of the Sustainable Development Commission, by Iceni Projects. The commission was set up with the task of creating a tool that could remove the subjectivity from sustainability, in essence, a way of removing the ambiguity that exists within the NPPF’s definition. Following almost two years of debate, and multiple iterations of the tool, we are delighted to now have launched the Sustainable Development Scorecard.

What is the Scorecard? 

It’s an online tool designed to assess how closely a proposed development meets the NPPF’s definition of sustainable development.

How does it work? 

Users are asked a series of questions about the site and type of development to ensure the Scorecard is tailored to the proposals. Users are then presented with a series of statements regarding the scheme and asked to respond on a five point scale from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’. Users can add notes and comments to justify their selections.

What’s the output? 

The Scorecard tool will give two scores – a parity score (how balanced in terms of the three pillars are the proposals) and a sustainability score (the overall score of each three pillar). In addition, a pdf report is provided containing a summary of the scores, user responses and recommendations for improvement.

Who can use it? 

Anyone. The Scorecard is completely free and has been designed so that it can be used by developers, local government planners or a community group. All that is required is a good knowledge of the proposals.

To access the Scorecard please follow the web address below: