Land-use planning refers to a wide range of activities that direct the future use of land (development planning) and control the current use thereof (development management). The aim is to ensure the optimal use of land within a political, social, cultural, environmental and economic context.
The most significant tool for development planning is the Spatial Development Framework (SDF), which is a key component of an Integrated Development Plan (IDP). The SDF guides and informs all decision regarding the future development and planning of land-use. The SDF attempts to balance priorities and issues from all sectors. While not a comprehensive plan, the SDF does describe future spatial patterns for sustainable livelihoods.
Traditionally, development control is informed by zoning or town-planning schemes, which define the rights and restrictions applicable to individual erven. It is envisaged that in future there will be alignment between SDFs and such schemes to allow for more informed and consistent decision-making.
To date a number of planning tools, in addition to SDFs, have been developed to assist with development planning and development control functions. These tools include Environmental Management Frameworks (EMFs), Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). These are generally referred to as multi-sectoral plans (or tools). These plans and tools are developed within all spheres of government and it is expected that the biodiversity sector’s contribution, referred to as the bioregional plan, will sit alongside the plans and tools developed by other sectors.