Every developed Country operates its development activities in accordance with the guidelines of a National Physical Planning Policy and a Plan.
The need for the formulation of a National Physical plan policy & a plan for Sri Lanka was identified in 1997. The National Physical Planning Department which is under the purview of the Ministry o Urban Development & Sacred Area Development was established by the amendment made to the Town & Country Planning Ordinance No.13 of 1946 in 2000.
The main objective of the National Physical Plan had been to protect the environment and organize settlements where damages caused by the natural disasters would be minimum. One of the main tasks of the department is to prepare the National Physical Planning Policy and the National Physical Plan. These have been prepared and presented to the H.E. the President on 3rd July 2007.
The policy includes a settlement pattern devoid of natural disasters, a planned urban area network with a system of infrastructure facilities necessary for development and a network of small townships providing services that properly coordinates the urban and rural sectors.
Policies have been formulated for the protection of environmentally highly sensitive areas and areas where forests, wild life and archaeological sites are found at the same time suggestions have been made for increasing agricultural products by providing protection to areas suitable for various agricultural activities. Main elements of the structure plan includes Metro Regions with metro cities, district capitals, main highways, main railway lines, sea ports, air ports main fishery harbour and electric generation plants.
The structure plan is guide to ethnic integration among communities, appropriate land use pattern of the country, fast mobility between regions, proper economic activities within regions and thereby reducing regional, social and economic disparities of the country.
Another important task of the Department is to prepare Regional Plans for the provinces, guided by the National Physical Planning Policy and Plan. The Department of National Physical Planning has now formulated Regional Physical Plans for the two Provinces of Eastern and Sabaragamuwa. Plans are under way for the provinces of North Western, Southern, North- Central, Western, Central, Uva and Northern.
This policy and the plan could be used t direct the physical development up to the year 2030.