New advisory group announced as part of revised national planning framework

A NEW ‘planning, infrastructure and place advisory group’ is to be set up, as part of a beefed-up version of a draft ‘national planning framework’, that has been laid before the Scottish Parliament, ahead of a later vote by MSPs.

The new group was announced by Scottish Government minister, Tom Arthur MSP, Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth, who, in presenting a revised draft NPF4, recognised that the original draft document needed work, not least in its language of ‘should’ and ‘should not’.

In a statement to Parliament, here, he said: “I especially want to thank the many people and organisations who gave their time, experience and expertise to engage with us and help create an NPF4 that reflects all our aspirations and will help drive change.

“The wealth of evidence and opinion shared has guided our approach to revising NPF4, to produce the much clearer and stronger version that I have laid here today in Parliament.

“We engaged, we listened, and we have responded.

“As a result, the revised version looks quite different to the draft.”

Begins a Scottish Government news article, here: “Developments which reduce carbon emissions to tackle climate change and restore nature would be promoted under finalised proposals for long term planning reform.

“The revised draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) sets out sustainable policies against which planning applications would be assessed for the next decade.”

Mr Arthur noted that Scotland – in facing up to the “twin crises of climate and nature” – there is a balance to be struck “in relation to protecting landscape and promoting renewable energy developments. That will not be easy to achieve”. He finished the sentence: “Scotland will look different in the future”.

He later commented: “Working together will be the key, so I can announce that a new ‘Planning, Infrastructure and Place Advisory Group’ will be established to build collaboration, realise opportunities, identify barriers to delivery and strengthen the alignment of NPF4 with our plans and investment in both place and infrastructure.”

And he believed NPF4 will assist local authority planning departments: “I am particularly alert to the pressures on planning authorities which will now be expected to take NPF4 and develop local plans that flow from it.

“But this NPF4 will streamline current practice and make it more consistent, freeing up resource to take us in a new and bold direction. That shift in culture and approach will not be without its challenges, so it is vital that authorities feel supported and that we work together to deliver NPF4.”

Watch the statement and following questions, here.

There was no mention of who might comprise the membership of any advisory group.

The revised draft is now expected to be considered by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee, before being voted on by MSPs.

Pictured: Scottish Parliament building, Picture credit: Place Design Scotland