Opponents of the planning reforms are trying to suggest there isn't a proper definition of sustainable development. They argue this could open the floodgates to any proposal for development under plans to simplify the system. They talk as if the concept was being introduced for the first time or as if its definition was being changed or not bothered with.

But in their rush to criticise the reforms, they've conveniently forgotten the internationally recognised definition of sustainable development,established by the Brundtland Commission in 1987, and it's this principle that runs throughout the draft framework. Put simply, sustainability means that plans should ensure they promote development to meet the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. That is not the promotion of growth at all costs. Each chapter of the draft Framework sets out a different issue which provides a rigorous test towards that assessment of sustainability. Development which is unacceptable to communities and impacts badly on the environment does not meet that criteria, and would not go ahead.

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