National Development Framework

National Development Framework Consultation

Welsh Government National Development Framework (NDF) Consultation

Welsh Government launched a consultation on a full draft of the National Development Framework (NDF) on 7th August 2019.

They are seeking your views on whether you think the plans and policies in the document are right for development in Wales.

You have until 1st November 2019 to respond to the consultation. The NDF and other consultation documents can be found at: 


The Draft NDF: 17 questions answered

1. What is the National Development Framework?2. How will it affect communities?3. What status does the NDF have?4. How does it relate to other laws, policies and plans?5. How is the NDF structured?6. What are the main challenges & opportunities identified in the NDF?7. What outcomes does the NDF want to achieve?8. Where does the draft NDF say growth should be? 9. What about rural areas?10. What are the three regions?11. What is a Strategic Development Plan (SDP)? 12. What does the draft NDF say about North Wales?13. What does the draft NDF say about Mid and Southwest Wales?14. What does the draft NDF say about Southeast Wales?15. How will growth be planned and managed?16. When will the NDF be published?17. How can I comment on the NDF?

What is the National Development Framework?

The National Development Framework (NDF) is a 20-year development plan that covers the whole of Wales. It has been produced by Welsh Government and once adopted, it will cover the period 2020 – 2040.

The NDF covers big issues including the economy, housing and environment for Wales as a whole. It shows where nationally significant developments like energy, transport, water and waste projects should take place.

The NDF shows where growth should happen, what infrastructure and services are needed and how Wales can help fight climate change. It tries to make the best use of resources, create accessible healthy communities and protect our environment.

It seeks to achieve prosperity and well-being in Wales, now and in the future.

How will it affect communities?

As well as covering the big planning issues that affect Wales, the plan will affect the shape and direction of future planning policy in Wales, including Local Development Plans (LDPs).

The NDF identifies three regions for future investment in Wales – North Wales, Mid & South West Wales and South East Wales. It is expected that Strategic Development Plans (SDPs) will be prepared for these regions. SDPs will influence the content (and length) of future LDPs.

So, whilst the NDF is a Wales-wide plan, it will inform decisions on nationally significant infrastructure projects and will affect future planning policy at a local level.

As a result, Planning Aid Wales recommends that you share your views on the draft plan with Welsh Government.

What status does the NDF have?

The NDF is currently in draft form. When adopted, the NDF will replace the current Wales Spatial Plan. Unlike the Wales Spatial Plan, the NDF have development plan status and therefore be of greater significance.

The NDF will be a large piece of the planning jigsaw in Wales. Once published, there will be a hierarchy of development plans as:

National Development Framework
Strategic Development Plans
Local Development Plans

SDPs and LDPs must be consistent with NDF. The NDF will also be relevant to large scale infrastructure projects through the Developments of National Significance (DNS) process.

How does it relate to other laws, policies and plans?

Welsh Government state they have carefully considered how the NDF reflects, aligns with and maximises its contribution to the well-being goals, objectives and ways of working, as required by the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

The NDF sets out land use framework to support the delivery of the Welsh Government’s national strategy, Prosperity for All: Delivering for Wales.

The NDF compliments and should be read alongside Planning Policy Wales and it supplementary Technical Advice Notes.

The plan will affect the shape and direction of future planning policy in Wales, including Strategic Development Plans (SDPs) and Local Development Plans (LDPs).

How is the NDF structured?

The draft NDF is divided into five sections, each building on the previous section:

  • Introduction – explains the purpose of the NDF and how the it fits with wider Welsh Government policy.
  • Challenges & Opportunities – looks at the three regions and identifies and explains the main challenges and opportunities facing Wales over the coming 20 years.
  • NDF Outcomes – these break down what the NDF is looking to do to address the challenges & opportunities.
  • Spatial Strategy – sets out major patterns of development and areas of change needed nationally to deliver the outcomes.
  • The Regions – sets out the ambitions and policies for nationally important growth in the three regions. This chapter highlights key locations for nationally significant development.

What are the main challenges & opportunities identified in the NDF?

Some challenges and opportunities include:

  • An ageing population
  • Increasing Welsh speaking
  • Tackling climate change, protecting the environment and using natural resources carefully
  • The decline in heavy industry and rise in service and digital industries.
  • The role of tourism
  • Changing technology, better internet provision and speeds
  • Connections to England and Europe
  • Reducing inequality
  • The need for affordable homes

See pages 12-17 of the draft NDF for more detail.

7. What outcomes does the NDF want to achieve?

The NDF seeks a Wales where people live….

  1. and work in connected, inclusive and healthy places
  2. in vibrant rural places with access to homes, jobs and services
  3. in distinctive regions that tackle health and socio-economic inequality through sustainable growth
  4. in places with a thriving Welsh Language
  5. and work in towns and cities which are a focus and springboard for sustainable growth
  6. in places where prosperity, innovation and culture are promoted
  7. in places where travel is sustainable
  8. in places with world-class digital infrastructure
  9. in places that sustainably manage their natural resources and reduce pollution
  10. in places with biodiverse, resilient and connected ecosystems
  11. in places which are decarbonised

Where does the draft NDF say growth should be?

The draft NDF states New large scale employment opportunities and housing growth will occur predominantly, though not exclusively, in the following areas:

  1. Cardiff, Newport and the valleys
  2. Swansea Bay and Llanelli
  3. Wrexham and Deeside

The NDF focuses on growth in the towns and cities and looks at using and developing on infrastructure in these areas rather than starting again.

Policies 1-3 (pages 26-28) seek to deliver this growth.

What about rural areas?

Policy 4 (page 29) seeks to ensure appropriate growth in rural towns and villages. This requires SDPs and LDPs to ensure people living in these areas have access to jobs, services and local infrastructure.

The draft NDF states priority should be given to economic activities with strong links to rural areas, such as farming and associated businesses, food and drink processing, energy generation and tourism.

10. What are the three regions?

The NDF divides Wales into three planning regions that have their own unique opportunities and challenges:

  1. North Wales
  2. Mid and South West Wales
  3. South East Wales

At least one Strategic Development Plan must come forward in each of these regions. The draft NDF states regions should work together to ensure plans support each other and Welsh Government will monitor this to ensure compliance.

What is a Strategic Development Plan (SDP)?

A Strategic Development Plan (SDP) is regional plan that is designed to deal more effectively with cross boundary issues and achieve better planning solutions.

The plans should include spatial strategies, settlement hierarchies and plans for the provision of housing and employment amongst other important regional issues.

It is anticipated that groups of Local Planning Authorities working with other stakeholders will prepare Strategic Development Plans in each of the three regions.

SDPs will be prepared in a broadly similar way to Local Development Plans, but they will not replace them. LDPs will continue to focus on local planning policies, but may become shorter and more focussed once the SDP is adopted.

An SDP must be in ‘General Conformity’ with the NDF, when published.

What does the draft NDF say about North Wales?

  • 19,000 new homes to be delivered over the plan period including affordable housing.
  • Growth mainly in Wrexham and Deeside.
  • Close work with England authorities to support growth.
  • Six other towns identified as capable of growth; Caernarvon, Rhyl, Llandudno, Colwyn Bay, Bangor and Prestatyn.
  • Flood issues will need to be addressed and protection of countryside around the towns, possibly consider Green Belts through SDP process.
  • Maintain and enhance the role of Holyhead as a port.
  • Improve public transport and other transport links in general to NW England.
  • New Metro for the region.
  • New energy projects supporting jobs, training and skills.
  • Nuclear Energy will be subject to further consideration.

What does the draft NDF say about Mid and Southwest Wales?

  • Large region but population densities vary across the region, there is a need to strengthen rural communities.
  • 23,000 houses to be provided over the plan period including affordable housing.
  • Swansea Bay and Llanelli to be main areas for growth.
  • SDP/ LDPs to follow Swansea Bay Region City Deal.
  • Growth also possible in 8 other towns; Carmarthen, Llandrindod Wells, Newtown, Aberystwyth, Milford Haven, Haverfordwest, Pembroke and Pembroke Dock.
  • Growth in the role of Milford Haven due to oil and gas terminal and its strategic importance.
  • Plans for Swansea Bay Metro.

What does the draft NDF say about Southeast Wales?

  • 50% of Wales’ housing demand is in this area. 71,000 new homes needed including affordable housing.
  • Growth should be spread through the region.
  • A Metro system into Cardiff.
  • Growth in Newport, in particular on vacant brownfield land and properties. Plans should look to allow this growth to also ease the pressure on Cardiff.
  • Consideration to safeguarding the economy of the area.
  • Protect the countryside and link to countryside around Bristol.
  • Support development and growth of Cardiff Airport.
  • Valleys Regional Park; maximise use and work with partners.

How will growth be planned and managed?

To achieve the previous objectives and aims the NDF makes clear that places must be well planned and should:

  • Increase non car modes of transport;
  • Provide green spaces;
  • Provide access to services.

To achieve lasting growth in towns and cities the NDF identifies that:

  • Development should make the best use of land;
  • Public transport provision should be encouraged and enhanced;
  • Businesses should be supported;
  • Education, Health and public services should be easy to get to.

In the countryside there is a need to provide jobs, homes, services and social opportunities.

When will the NDF be published?

It is anticipated that the NDF will be published in September 2020.

A detailed timeline for the preparation of the plan is available at:

Once the NDF is published it is intended that the plan will be reviewed every 5 years.

How can I comment on the NDF?

The draft NDF, including an easy read and student version, can be viewed on the Welsh Government website
Instructions on how to comment on the draft are also available on this page.

Welsh Government will be holding drop-in sessions to enable you to come and talk to us about the National Development Framework. These sessions are demand-led and by-appointment so you will have to book your slot. They will be held in the main public libraries in the following 12 locations:

  • Bangor 10 September: 2pm to 6.30pm
  • Newport 11 September: 3pm to 5.30pm
  • Newtown 17 September: 2pm to 7.30pm
  • Carmarthen 18 September: 2pm to 6pm
  • Merthyr Tydfil 25 September: 2pm to 6pm
  • Aberystwyth 26 September: 2pm to 6pm
  • Swansea 30 September: 3pm to 8pm
  • Milford Haven 1 October: 10am to 2pm
  • Wrexham 2 October: 1pm to 6pm
  • Llandrindod Wells 3 October: 2pm to 6pm
  • Colwyn Bay 10 October: 2pm to 5pm
  • Cardiff 10 October: 1pm to 7pm

For more information and to book your slot contact by e mail [email protected] or telephone 0300 025 3261 or 0300 025 1543.

The Deadline for comments is 1 November 2019.

Question not answered?

If you are still looking for advice, you may be able to get assistance via our free telephone Helpline.

Click here to access our Helpline service >>

Share via
Share via
Send this to a friend