National planning framework a ‘significant’ milestone in ambitions to tackle climate change


THE Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Scotland has hailed the publication of the finalised national planning framework (NPF) 4 as a ‘significant milestone’ in ambitions to target climate change.

The framework will now be discussed by Parliament before being subject to a vote in the chamber.

Proposals in the national planning framework 4 include:

  • Enabling more renewable energy generation, outside National Parks and National Scenic Areas, to support the transition away from reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Supporting emerging low-carbon and zero emissions technologies – including hydrogen and carbon capture – and developments on land that unlock the transformative potential of offshore renewable energy, such as expansion of the electricity grid. Waste incineration facilities would be highly unlikely to receive permission.
  • facilitating creation of cycling or walking routes, low carbon transport, more green spaces and opportunities for play, culture and tourism.
  • helping rural communities grow by enabling more local homes and encouraging a more diverse rural economy.
  • regenerating city and town centres to help them adapt to economic change while enabling people to access shops, schools and workplaces within a 20 minute walk or cycle.
  • Adopting a planned and evidence-based approach to delivering good quality and affordable homes that benefit communities.

Andrew Trigger, RTPI Scotland’s convenor, said, “We are pleased to see Scottish Government publish this important document on World Town Planning Day and in the week of COP 27 that rightly places planning at the heart of our drive towards net-zero. This framework will usher in a new plan led era that can make sure our towns and cities are greener, healthier, and more vibrant.

“We hope that, through this period of parliamentary consideration and debate, MSPs recognise the important role that the framework and planning can play, ensuring it is at the forefront in Scotland’s green future.

“RTPI Scotland is committed to working constructively and positively with government, parliament and stakeholders in the run up to the final parliamentary debate and vote. However, we are acutely aware of the significant budgetary cuts experienced by planning departments in recent years alongside chronic understaffing. To make this vision of Scotland to 2050 a reality, we need to provide the appropriate resources to our planning departments to prepare local development plans and manage planning applications to guide development appropriately.”