Planning frameworks

Spatial planning frameworks are the basic administrative structures within which spatial planning is undertaken. They set out the policy framework within which spatial plans are produced and the types of planning documents that are required. Spatial planning frameworks need to reflect the purpose and function for which they are being developed and to take account of the institutional context within which they are being applied.

Considerable experience has been gained from the application of spatial planning to UK terrestrial environments. In particular there is a well developed body of policy and guidance to support plan-making and plan implementation. There is currently debate about whether existing policy and guidance is excessive and the need for clearer separation of policy and guidance. There is also an ongoing tension between the relative weight to be attached to top-down and bottom-up elements of spatial planning and how this  is represented in the planning system.

In a marine context, some commentators have challenged whether a terrestrial planning model could or should be transposed to the sea, particularly given some of the different characteristics of the marine area compared to land.