‘Pop’ S&P and WSJ get Chinese Bubble has burst

The WSJ reports the findings of a S&P survey of its tracker ‘hot’ chinese stocks and find that they have lost half their value in the past year, after increasing in price by one-and-a-half-times over the past year.

“Looking at this data, we think it would be fair to say that the Chinese companies might have been in a bubble that burst”

As the WSJ commented

investors are jumping out of anything perceived as economically sensitive or risky, as doubts grow about the health of economies worldwide. That goes double for anything tied to China

Remember you heard it here first, Chinas consumer demands will not pull the world out of a double dip, the squeeze on balance sheets will plunge the world into one.

Robert Heinberg has just published a book ‘Growths last stand’ with an almost identical analysis to that in my earlier article.

Even Chinas central Bank, the People’s Bank of China is worried – China’s macroeconomic management faces “many challenges, including asset bubble risks and accelerated inflation pressures” this year.

In its 2011 China Financial Stability Report, it reiterated it will continue to adopt a prudent monetary policy and active fiscal policy this year, while making stabilizing prices a priority of its monetary policy.I.e. monetary retrenchment. Prey for a soft landing.

Capitalism Last Frontier #8 The Oriental Caricature

The social sciences grew up seeing history through the lens of classicism. In medieval times and the renaissance the classics offered a glimpse of lost civilisation which could be recovered – and of a dark other, the barbarian east, a despotism defeated and supplanted.

Without repeating Edward Said’s implicit assumption that in Orientalism (1978) that every word of European 18th-20th C writing on non-European civilisation was dripping with racism and Eurocentrism, we have learned to be much more circumspect about european theories about pre-capitalist and non-capitalist societies.

Those totemic theorists of history and society, Weber and Marx have been no less afflicted by their treatment of such societies viewed from lack of first hand experience of travel outside Europe and subsequent reliance on travellers tails and loaded histories.

The chapter on “precapitalist economic formations” in the Grundrisse (1857-1858) inserted the Asiatic mode of production into Marx’s theory of stages of social development.

This stage followed “primitive communism.” Marx overlapped the Asiatic mode of production with slavery and feudalism as two other, successive precapitalist ways of producing.

The concept of the Asiatic mode of production has been the most controversial of Marx’s historical modes, and subject of much discussion amongst both Marxian and non-Marxian scholars.

The concept centres on the thesis of highly dominant states ruling from central cities, with a monopoly of land ownership, controlling irrigation and ruling over peasant populations, living in autonomous village communities and with a limited aristocracy and limited private ownership of land.   The states dominance was enforced by powerful armed forces who extracted tribute in the form of agricultural surplus, but which otherwise left autonomous communes be.  Such civilisations were ossified lacking vitality and independent economic life, i.e. the presumed requirements for the emergence of industrial capitalism.

Much of the controversy is over whether it is sufficiently distinctive from Feudalism to be called a separate ‘mode’. Certainly there were societies very similar to European Feudalism, such as Japan, and China and India, have had clearly defined aristocracies, and private ownership of land, throughout much of their histories.  At different times outside Europe we have had phases of strong states and strong aristocratic warlords interceding, of dispersed extraction of agricultural surplus and of centralised extraction by by emperors and armies.

From todays perspective the concept of the Asiatic mode of production looks like a Victorian fancy, fitting a reality to a theory.  One problem is Marx’s dead to fill the archaic gap.  Pre-civilisation village communities and fuedalism, seen from a european perspective were fairly easy to categorise as modes of production, but what of in-between.  The archaeic gap was much harder and the classical world of Greece and Rome seemed different from the empires of the East.  We might categorise the term ‘Asiatic’ as attempting to fill that gap and the descriptions of its main driving features designed to explain how it differed from the the Classical world.

In the next section i’ll look at how central the prevlanence of slavery was in Marx’s conception of the Classical World.  Other explanations were needed to explain the extraction of a surplus in societies without large land owning aristocracies. A powerful State and associated army filled that gap.  But what explained the  prevalence of a powerful State, or its absence, or the prevalence or otherwise of slavery?

For the earliest civilisations some historians have sought to showw clear patters.  The  first civilizations in history, such as Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Sri Lanka, , China and pre-Columbian Mexico and Peru, are believed to have been empires of massive systems of irrigation.Most such empires existed in regions that were or bordered semi-arid areas or, as in the case of imperial China had irrigation requires due to the needs of rice cultivation and the need to control annual flooding.

Max Weber referred to China and India’s “hydraulic-bureaucratic official-state” – his study based on sources on the Chinese Qing Dynasty, this being an 17th-20th century not ancient example, and certainty shaped by contact with mercantile capital and European empire.  Indeed for Marx too China served as the archetype of despotism, although his writings on China were confined almost exclusively to commentaries on British Foreign Policy of the 1850s and Chinas resistance to imperialism.

The German American historian Karl August Wittfogel (1896–1988), in Oriental Despotism (1957), developed a theory of Asiatic civilisations based in equal part on Weber and Marx.  In his theory a  developed “hydraulic civilization” maintains social  control through of controlling the supply of water. Despite the term ‘oriental despotism’ such hydraulic civilisations were neither all located in the Orient nor characteristic of all Oriental societies, Wittfogel’s reasoning was that irrigating land raises productivity, but also creates the tedium of settlement, bureaucracy, public works schemes and so forth.

Wittfogels attempted rejuvenation of the theory of an asiatic mode of production was in part a barely coded critique of Stalin. Stalin codified a rigid, mechanical succession of modes of production, with Soviet Russia as the highest state. Wittfogels held a less rigid view and showed the uncomfortable similarity between the Asiatic Mode of Production and the reality of Stalin’s Russia.   For Wittfogel the application of bureaucratic and dominant state forms could see history shift backwards.

Barry Hindess and Paul Hirst in Precapitalist Modes of Production (1975) insist that surplus labour in one form or another is a persistent feature, more a “necessary condition” of all societies. However the means by which it is produced and appropriated vary widely.  They rightly observe that Marxism was an attempt at a theory of Capitalism, not a theory of  all historical modes of production or of world social history.  They deny the teleology of one mode of production inevitably following another.  But there 400 page book is little more than a catalogue of Marxist categories and description of their weakness.  One must wonder what was the point of such an organising system in the first place.  Hindess and Hirst attempt to distinguish between these different forms.  For them a division of labour that posits a class of non-labourers is characterised by the existence of the political form of a state, the state cannot be presupposed, as a social relation it exists for a reason.

If then the formation of a powerful state is essential in creating pre-capitalist ways of producing, as we have found it was in the formation of property and the creation of landless wage labour, what is distinctively Marxist about this?  The means of social control seem determinate – the key anarchist theoretical concept – and not the means of production – the key Marxian concept.

The simplistic characatures of pre-capitalism derives from these  ‘Horrible Histories’ conceptions of ‘Modes of Production’.  The factors which are central and the directions of causations are legion, as are the counterexamples from the original ‘asiatic’ stereotype.

The most the great C13 medieval Persian, Afghan and Turkestan cities were most reliant on irrigation, but had complex and varied  complex systems of commodity production and large factories producing metalware, ceramics, carpets etc, with the mosque providing financial intermediation.

Without the shackles of prior categories of society we shall look at the origins of state, agriculture, water technologies and surplus.

Sustainable Development – Not Dead Yet

Jonathan Porritt announcing the funeral rights for sustainable development today reminded me of the storey of Marcus Garvey.  After suffering a stroke in January 1940, the he read his obituary in a Chicago newspaper which described him as “broke, alone and unpopular”. Apparently as a result, Garvey suffered a second stroke and died.

Sustainable Development isnt dead yet.  The Localism Bill faces a torrid time in the Lords and the NPPF isnt yet enacted.  The question is is sustainable development regarded as broke, alone and unpopular, like Punk Rockers clinging to an unfashionable style?

I suspect that the friends of sustainable development have yet to make their voice known.



Decision Theory for Planners #108 – 95% on time

Some well known and frightening statistics about major projects, from the Standish Group.

Typical Challenges & Symptoms with Projects Mean Performance (1998)
Late Only 44% of all projects finish on schedule or before.  The rest tend to be very late.
On average, projects are 222% longer than planned.
Over budget By 189%
Fall short of planned technical content 70% of projects
Canceled before finished 30% of projects

If 2004 is taken as a base then the failure of around 80% of local planning authorities to have an adopted core strategy musst rank as one of the greatest project management failures in History, alongside the passport office computer system and the Mars Probe.

I actually think that the situation is even worse than this, because core strategies often have inadequate testing by end users, lots of testing by inspectors, but very little by development management staff prior to publication.  With continuing reliance on other documents (such as RSS and old saved policies) there is little guarantee that the new plan is more effective than the old.  This lack of testing would be unthinkable in any other sphere with projects of this cash value scale.

So if projects take twice as long and cost nearly twice as much as planned what can we do about it?

With these rates of failure it was surprising that the field of project management had no major innovations for almost 40 years since the late 1950s.

However in the late 1990s Eliyahu M. Goldratt, who we met in the last section and we learned today sadly died on Saturday, turned his attention of how the Theory of Contraints could be turned from business processes to project management processes.

“A smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others'”

His starting point was the programme, the series of multiple interrelated projects.  The problem is that programmes share resources, such as people.  In traditional critical path approaches it doesn’t examine whether these resources are balanced between projects.  So if for example the person who was going to do your SEA is called away to another project you can rip up that Ghant chart on the wall.

In the real world processes dont all move along at the same pace, some move along faster than others, and if there is a resource problem at any one stage it becomes a bottleneck, and work piles up behind it.   Thiss was his first insight enabling the application of the theory of constraints to project management.

His second insight was that the time taken to complete tasks follows a bell curve, remember the previous section on estimation, at the mean 50% of the time a project will be late and 50% of the time it will be early.

No make an estimation of the time taken for a task with a 100% chance of completion, and halve it.  We will be at the point of 50% chance of task completion.  This is the time you assign.  You shouldn’t be shocked if you realise that people are not expected to complete tasks on time 100% of the time only 50% of the time.   Performance is measured by variance of the mean.

The innovation in critical chain is what it does with that spare 50%.  It uses to create a buffer, exactly as in the previous lecture.

In the traditional approach if a task finishes early then it causes a problem, your project plan might not be ready to accept the saving and so there may be no saving in the project completion time overall.

But if resources can be flexibly reassigned then you can achieve savings overall.

But what if a task is late?  This is where the concept of buffers come in.  The 50% of task estimates is split (50-50) between:

A)  Task buffers

B) Project Buffers

Now if a task is late it is not critical – you can even reassign resources from finished early tasks.  If all of a task buffer is used up you then eat a project buffer.  Only if the buffer are being eaten into at more than the expected rate is the task behind schedule.  This concept of buffer management allows you to accurately assess where and why a project is running late.  It enables you to distinguish between progress on the project constraint (i.e. on the critical chain) from progress on non-constraints (i.e. on other paths).

Case studies report 95% on-time and on-budget completion when it is applied correctly.

Loss of a Giant – Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt 1947-2011

A sad loss, he died on Saturday with his family around him.

He revolutionised how we think about business processes and project management, and taught us that focussing on saving money rather than making money will lead to failure.  He really made a breakthrough in the economic theory of the firm, and hopefully one day the economics profession will realise that.

Would NATO bomb a World Heritage Site?

Yesterday they refused to rule it out after rebels reported that rocket launchers were being held at UNESCO World Heritage site of Leptis Magna, a historic Roman city between the capital Tripoli and rebel-held Misrata.

Of course rockets launchers in such a place are of no risk to anyone but rats.  The military purpose of stationing them there is like human shields, in case an attack causes damage which provokes an international outrage.

First Coalition Split on Planning – but the wrong Target

According to Planning Resource

The controversial Clause 124, which would give material weight to “local finance considerations” when determining a planning application,
was brought up by peers several times during last week’s debate on the Bill

The Liberal Democrat amendment, which was the first proposed change to the bill in the Lords, was tabled by Baroness Parminter and Lord Greaves.

It reads: “The above-named Lords give notice of their intention to oppose the Question that Clause 124 stands part of the Bill.”

The amendment will be discussed when the bill moves to its committee stage in the Lords next Monday.

The whole issue of this ‘cash for permission’ or ‘cash for sprawl’ clause has been mishandled from beginning to end and created much misunderstanding.

The principle that planning permission cannot be bought and sold is fundamental.

For planning obligations this means that to be acceptable an obligation must be necessary for the proposal to overcome planning objections to gain planning permission.

If a local planning authority is considering a planning application for a housing estate or business park they can legitimately consider the economic benefits a project might bring.

One such factor could be whether a scheme made a settlement more fiscally viable. Such considerations have always throughout history and will always be a key factor for local politicians in determining optimum settlement size.

The problem came with the governments new fiscal incentive, the new homes bonus, and the hope that this would somehow encourage local authorities to allocate land rather than deallocate it which they have been doing hand over fist. Ministers wrote to LPAs asking them to take this into account immediately.

The concern was expressed that if this matter was determinate in a planning decision it could be unlawful. The CPRE and the HBF expressed concern over this in February.

The RTPI has issued a briefing paper. The RTPI is not disputing that financial consideration are material, rather the necessity test should be included in the definition.

This test from the CIL regulations makes the necessity test law not just policy – this effectively supercedes the Tesco case that it is lawful to take into account financial coonsiderations in excess of necessity.

[It] may only constitute a reason for granting planning permission for the development if the obligation is—

(a)necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms;

(b)directly related to the development; and

(c)fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development.

Now the issue is that New Homes Bonus is not directly related to the development and it is not ringfenced. It can be used by the LPA for any purpose. However the RTPIs position is not consistent in that CIL is not directly related to the development either. Indeed with the governments latest changes to CIL its can no longer to just not related to a specific development (as CIL applies area wide) but also need not meet the necessity test as a proportion of CIL – ‘Neighbourhoods will now get a direct cut of the cash paid by developers to councils – to spend how they wish to benefit the community, from parks and schools to roads, playgrounds and cycle paths.’

As in the Mr 50% you have to deal with in so many countries Neighbourhoods will now be Mr 20%.

In going down this route the government have opened a pandoras box about the legality of taking into account CIL as a material consideration.

There is a long-established principle in Alnwick District Council v Secretary of State (2000) 79 P&CR 130) that financial consequences for authorities that do not relate to the use or development of land are not capable of amounting to material  considerations. But this has recently been challenged.

As S J Berwin have pointed out at L is for Localism

the Court of Appeal has also recently held that the financial impact for an authority of revoking or modifying a planning permission – in terms of its exposure to a compensation claim from the owner – can lawfully be a material consideration for the authority to take into account in deciding whether or not to make the revocation or modification order (Heath and Safety Executive v Wolverhampton City Council (2010) EWHC 71 (Admin)..– although this is currently subject to an appeal to the Supreme Court.

We now face the strange position whereby an unjustified financial offer from an applicant would be ruled off-side but whereby an equivalent sum of money available from central Government as a result of planning permission being granted or implemented would not just be able to be taken into account but would have to be taken into account by an authority in its decision making.

The risks are reinforced by a legal opinion published by the CPRE from John Hobson QC and Stephen Whale of 4-5 Greys Inn Square.

HSE, Alnwick …were all concerned with direct adverse financial consequences of planning decisions, whereas the NHB scheme is more a case of indirect positive financial consequences

two points in particular about the NHB scheme need very much to be borne in mind. First, receipt of the NHB grant is only indirectly the consequence of a planning decision in that it is to be paid not upon a grant of planning permission but upon a change in the number of dwellings on council tax valuation lists. Second, the precise amount of NHB grant to be paid will be a function of a number of factors unrelated to any particular application (or development). These factors include the number of council tax discounts and exemptions in the authority’s area, the total tax base and council tax requirement for England, the number of empty properties brought back into use and the number of demolitions.
These two points give rise to a good argument for saying that, whilst financial considerations may, in principle, amount to a material consideration, the NHB scheme and the grants made under it will not be a land use consequence of any planning decision or else they will not fairly and reasonably relate to any
particular application (or development).

So if the government wished to maintain its current NHB scheme and retain its efficacy as an incentive they were forced to legislate.

Unpicking the two obejctions raised in the Lords

The ‘cash above all else’ objection is that the localism bill clause will raise financial considerations above all else.  The TCPA have promoted this idea.  On the face of the bill it will do no such thing.  As a matter of law the weight to be given to a material consideration will be a matter for the decision maker.  There are risks that policy will do do, such as in Planning for Growth, and the NPPF, but not on the face of the Bill, which confines local financial considerations to:

(a) a grant or other financial assistance that has been, or will  or  could be, provided to a relevant authority by a Minister of the Crown, or
(b) sums that a relevant authority has received, or will or could receive, in payment of Community Infrastructure Levy;

It does seem very very odd though that out of the many material considerations this is the only one on the Bill.  It is the only one that currently needs to be however as all others have been defined by common law.

Any consideration which relates to the use or development of land is capable of being a material consideration, but other circumstances such as personal hardship and fears of affected residents can be considered in exceptional cases (the House of Lords in Great Portland Estates v. Westminster City Council [1985]).

The second objection is more serious – that it is ‘cash for permissions’

After the rigour in setting up and making law the necessity test a structure of incentives that bypass this test mean the charge is well aimed.

But there is a change the government could make to the incentives that would avoid the whole problem.  It could integrate the NHB system with the CIL.

It would work like this.  Where there is a gap between infrastructure required in a CIL assessment and what is affordable the LPA record the difference.

Every year each LPA applies to the government for the difference and the government distributes a fixed pot pro-rata, and possibly weighted on the basis of the needs formula.

The grant forms part of the ringfenced CIL pool.

Neighbourhoods could gain for a % of funds providing it was ringfenced for infrastructure purposes.

All the localism bill then would need is a clause stating that the provision of infrastructure funding through the CIL was lawful.

This would be much less controversial and much less of a hacked on addition to the planning system.  It would not be cash for sprawl it would be cash for infrastructure.

National Planning Policy Framework Forensics #13 Environmental Assessment or Sustainability Appraisal?

(Note the short sections on evidence for infrastructure, heritage etc. say nothing remarkable and ill skip over those).

On page 11 the draft NPPF contains a short section on the Environmental Assessment of Development Plans.

The very title suggests a significant policy shift.  But not a lawful one.

Under section 19(5) of the P&CA 2004 LPA must ‘carry out an appraisal of the sustainability of the proposals in each [local development] document; &  prepare a report of the findings of the appraisal.’  This is unchanged by the localism bill – so neighbour plans may still require (unlike most SPD) SA – but may sometimes  be exempt from SEA because of the ‘small sites’ exemption in the European directive (see link below).  (See here for a draft NP self appraisal process – though it is enough to put almost anyone off)

This is clarified in paras 4.39 and 4.40 of PPS12 that the sustainability appraisal referred to should be an appraisal of the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the plan, and that they fully incorporates the requirements of the European Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment [directive 2001/42/EC see also the important EU guidance on the directive]. Provided the sustainability appraisal is carried out following the guidelines in the A Practical Guide to the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive and the Plan-Making Manual there will be no need to carry out a separate SEA.

Paragraph 24, PPS1 states: “Planning authorities should ensure that sustainable development is treated in an integrated way in their development plans. In particular, they should carefully consider the inter-relationship between social inclusion, protecting and enhancing the environment, the prudent use of natural resources and economic development.”

This is important, it should remain.

Despite the legal requirements however the reference in the draft NPPF is only to ‘Environmental’ Assessment’ – what about social and economic matters?  There is also a curious reference to ‘the local and natural environment of the area’ rather than social, environmental and  economic conditions (the extent of information required, which may be more than just local, will need to be defined in the scoping report).

The government has dropped the 2005  guidance on ‘Sustainability Appraisal of Regional Spatial Strategies and Local Development Documents’ as it applies to development plan documents, instead replacing it with the outsourced section on SA in the plan making manual.

So a wider SA, not a narrower SEA remains government policy.  If it, as a matter of government policy, is saying that these appraisals should return to narrow ones then we should be told.  If it is this would be enormously retrograde as the appraisal would not be integrated and would only cover environmental issues.

This is a critical part of current practice.  For example the EU requirements for consideration of ‘reasonable alternatives’ and ‘early consultation on options’ requires you in an SA/SEA to look at the social and economic impacts of options as well as environmental.  For example the impact on the economy of not providing jobs and not providing homes. Many in the past considered they didnt have to consider low options because any LDD not in general conformity with an RSS would not be a ‘reasonable alternative’.  With the putative revocation of RSS many LPAs have been looking at low provision, but if they are looking at a low provision option then they also need to consider the comparative social, economic and environmental impacts compared to a higher provision.  Also, as many experts have pointed out, if they have not previously consulted on the lower option they need to go back and reconsult, including on their SEA, otherwise the plan will not pass the lawfulness tests.  Clearly the social and economic impacts of not providing so many homes and/or jobs locally, or assuming they will be provided elsewhere and people will travel, will be considerable.  If the government wants to encourage more homes and places of work they should not encourage changes to assessment regimes that would allow LPAs to not consider the negative impacts of not building.  Yet again the NPPF leaps back to the early 1980s.

A good example is Bath.  This added a low option, deleting several thousand homes, just before submission, without consultation, relying on a prior SA/SEA that took the RSS housing levels as fixed.  The committee report did not contain a single word on the social and economic impacts of providing less housing.  This will not wash. In response they said would revise the SA/SEA.  This will not cut it as it is contrary to European law -the Seaport Investment Case,

The judge held that ‘while the scheme of the Directive and the Regulations does not demand simultaneous publication of the draft plan and the environmental report it clearly contemplates the opportunity for concurrent consultation on both documents’. The scheme of the Directive and the Regulations envisages the parallel development of the environmental report and the draft plan with the former impacting on the latter throughout the periods before during and after the consultation. Before the period of public consultation the report is supposed to influence the development of the plan. During the period of public consultation the public should be able to express its opinion not just on the plan itself but also on the accompanying environmental report. After the consultation period, the idea is of course that the plan should be reconsidered in light of the opinions expressed during the consultation.

This principle of parallel development avoids legal stanfus, is good practice and critically can significantly cut down on paperwork if you integrate the appraisal process with the plan making process. The NPPF should refer to this.

On other assessments the draft gets confused. On Habitats Assessments (appropriate assessments under Directive 92/43/EEC.)  in case C-06-/04 (Commission v United Kingdom). The Court found that, as a result of the failure to make land-use plans subject to such assessments Article 6(3) and (4) of the Habitats Directive had not been transposed completely.   The subsequently amended regulations  like the directive does not specifiy the form of that asessment rather requiring  ‘an appropriate assessment of the implications for the site in view of that site’s conservation objectives’.

Anoyingly the Plan-Making manual has never been updated to cover habitats assessments and LPAs have had to rely on English Nature guidance in draft since 2006 which also covers RSS.  The EU has stated that it considers the Habitat regulations as a trigger for SEA, rather than a separate requirement.  But of course the different functions of the two directives must be respected at every stage, the SEA directive in plan-centric, the HA directive is site centric, and different skill sets will be required.  None the less  an ‘in-combination’ assessment is quite possible and should be encouraged.  The reference to HAs being ‘another environmental assessment’ is confusing and send the wrong signal.

Similarly flood risk assessments fulfill a quite different function in setting out an evidential baseline and the reference to them should be removed from this section.

It would be better if the section read as follows:

Assessment of plans and programmes, including development plans, may be required under European directives (footnote) and are required for development plans under National Law (footnote).  Appraisal should be based on reasonably up-to-date information  & examine the sustainability of proposals in terms of likely significant social, environmental and economic impacts and their interrelationships. Assessments should be proportionate to the plan and should not repeat the assessment of higher level policy.

The draft plan and its accompanying sustainability appraisal report should be prepared on and consulted on in parallel sharing the same evidence base.  A single integrated appraisal report is encouraged where there may be more than one appraisal requirement, but local authorities should take care to ensure that the purposes and statutory requirements of different regimes are respected.  Assessment should be seen as positive means to assessing options against reasonable alternatives and engaging stakeholders on difficult choices on comparative impacts.  Assessments which act as a bureaucratic barrier to engagement will not be effective and will slow plan making down.

The process should be started early in the plan-making process and key stakeholders should be consulted in scoping the issues that the assessment should cover. Before the period of public consultation the integrated appraisal report should influence the development of the plan. During the period of public consultation the public should be able to express its opinion not just on the plan itself but also on the accompanying report. After the consultation period, the the draft plan should be reconsidered in light of the opinions expressed during the consultation prior to submission or adoption.

This revised section would apply an integrated regime to all forms of plan/programme and would, I hope, fully incorporate the findings of the recent caselaw.  It would send the signal that appraisal is not a box ticking hurdle carried out after you have made up your mind but central to an evidence based approach to planning.