Planning applications to demonstrate net zero credentials under new proposals


PLANNING applications will have to demonstrate how they will help meet Scotland’s net zero ambitions to get approval, under new proposals.

The Scottish Government said that the proposed framework would see applications that create more town centre homes or help reuse vacant and derelict land as more likely to gain approval.

It added that the blueprint would promote the creation of 20-minute neighbourhoods, where services are easily accessible by foot or bicycle – with tighter restrictions imposed on out-of-town retail development.

Further to this, Holyrood said that the proposed framework supports developments which contribute to nature restoration, drive population growth in rural Scotland, create more homes to meet local needs and encourage green investment.

The framework proposes 18 national developments including:

  • A national walking, wheeling and cycling network promoting active travel.
  • Mass and rapid transit networks for cities to significantly reduce congestion and reliance on the car.
  • Sustainable drainage and water management solutions to protect cities from future flood risk.
  • Master planned regeneration and investment along the Clyde and waterfronts in Dundee, Edinburgh and Stranraer.
  • Supporting transition of key industrial sites to net zero as well as helping to sustain rural and island communities in transitioning to a net zero society.
  • Pumped hydroelectric storage, large scale renewable energy generation and investment in the electricity grid.

Planning minister Tom Arthur said, “As COP26 delegates debate the future of our planet, we are proudly publishing our new draft National Planning Framework that proposes planners will have to consider the impact of applications on climate change and our natural environment.

“This plan for Scotland in 2045 aims to transform places so more of us live in well-designed and energy efficient homes, located within walking distance of local services and green space, and puts planning at the heart of delivering green, inclusive and long‑term sustainable development.

“This is a turning point for planning in Scotland. Our proposals will help us achieve our just transition to net zero emissions by helping to deliver more renewable energy, protecting our natural environment and creating better, healthier places to live.”