Scottish countryside

Scotland laying out net zero plans

The Scottish Government has announce that the revised draft of the National Planning Framework 4 is laying out policies that will tackle climate change and help the environment.

In the draft, the framework will set out policies against which planning applications will be assessed for the next 10 years, with high focus on sustainability.

Proposals in the latest draft 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 potential of offshore renewable energy, such as expansion of the electricity grid. Waste incineration facilities are 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.

With COP27 providing international governments the chance to hold climate talks, this draft has been tabled with the aim of seeking the delivery of a new and bold direction that can shift the culture and approach to planning in the nation for good.

Tom Arthur, Planning Minister, said:

“The window of opportunity to act to reduce emissions and adapt to already locked in changes is narrowing. Our statutory and moral obligation to tackle climate change means change is necessary and urgent.

“This final version of the Framework makes clear that we won’t compromise on climate change. It also clarifies what is to be delivered, and how. And it is now clear through the weighting to be applied to different policies, that the climate and nature crises are the priority.

“It is timely that we have tabled final proposals during COP27, as we set out to do when Glasgow hosted COP26 last year. This shows that Scotland’s ambition and commitment to delivering on international calls for action is unwavering.

“There is now a clear expectation of the role that planning must play in delivering the expansion of renewable energy needed to realise the just transition from reliance on fossil fuels.

“This Framework creates the foundation upon which build to fairer, greener Scotland we want to see for the benefit of future generations.”

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