Planning and Architecture

National Planning Framework 4 – The Essentials!

October 8, 2019 by 3 Comments | Category Architecture, Housing & Infrastructure, Planning

What is the National Planning Framework (NPF)?

The NPF is a long term spatial plan for Scotland that sets out where development and infrastructure is needed to support sustainable and inclusive growth.

We have started work to prepare our fourth NPF (NPF4) which will look to Scotland in 2050. It will guide spatial development, set out our national policies, designate national developments and reflect regional spatial priorities.

What has changed since NPF3?

We expect NPF4 to look very different from NPF3, with a longer time-horizon, fuller regional coverage and improved alignment with wider programmes and strategies, including on infrastructure and economic investment. In particular, NPF4 will need to align with the outcomes in the National Performance Framework; respond to the shift to inclusive growth; improve health and well-being for the people of Scotland, improve equalities and eliminate discrimination; provide a spatial planning response to the Global climate emergency; provide a renewed focus on rural development including rural repopulation; and give a stronger steer on housing delivery and diversification including the setting of targets on land for housing.

NPF4 will for the first time incorporate Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) and will take on enhanced status as part of the statutory development plan. Research on the operation and effectiveness of the current SPP will be published shortly.

NPF4 will also take into account regional spatial strategies which will be prepared by local authorities. A blog will provide further information on regional strategies in the coming weeks.

What is the process for preparing the NPF4 and how long will it take to deliver?
The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 includes legislative requirements on the review process, including up to 120 days consideration by the Scottish Parliament. We aim to do intensive early engagement during January to March/April 2020 before laying a draft in Parliament for consultation around September 2020. Public consultation will run alongside Parliament’s consideration. Following this formal consultation, we aim to lay the final version in Parliament in 2021. NPF4 will be approved by Parliament before it is adopted by Scottish Ministers.

NPF4 will be subject to a number of impact assessments including the Fairer Scotland Duty, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Equality Impact Assessment, Islands Impact Assessment, Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment, plus Children’s Rights and Well-being Impact Assessment. We will ensure that key stakeholders and the public are properly consulted at key stages in the process and that a statement on how these assessments have affected the development of the policy is included with the final Framework.

What status does NPF3 have whilst NPF4 is in preparation?

National Planning Framework 3 (2014) remains in place until it is replaced by an adopted NPF4.

How can I engage in the preparation process?

Preparation of the NPF will require strong collaboration with stakeholders. We will engage with stakeholders in the public, community, voluntary and private sectors, as well as academic experts and professional bodies. A particular effort will be made to reach beyond the people and organisations normally involved in planning consultations.

The preparation of NPF4 will be supported by a participation statement setting out how, where and when Ministers will engage on the preparation of the framework. We will publish the Participation Statement in the coming weeks.

How can I keep up to date with progress?

Our participation statement will soon be published setting out opportunities to engage. Please also follow our ScotGovPlanning twitter account (#scotplan). We will use twitter to alert you to any new information on our website, as well as blog articles and other information sources. You can also sign up to this Planning and Architecture Blog.

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  • William Gelletly says:

    We are told regularly by the Scottish government that we need sufficient and suitable new housing for our communities. It is thus very important that local planning officers have suitable powers to regulate all aspects of new and existing housing. I have two comments related to this.
    The first is that where a significant amount of new housing is built it is vital that we use brownfield sites as much as possible, do not build in areas likely to flood or are subject to landslip and ensure that there is suitable infrastructure associated with any development. I see too many areas where there is extensive new housing but there is a lack of new schools, nurseries, shops, open space and GP practices to support the incoming population.
    The second comment relates to communities like the one where I live, namely Culross in West Fife.
    Such communities thrive on the close involvement of the residents in general activities. Their support is essential for schools, nurseries, festivities and communal activities for people of all ages.
    In this period of pandemic one sees how important this is in terms of communal support for the elderly and vulnerable. What I observe is that when houses/flats/buildings become vacant in this small town they are now frequently purchased by people who are using them as a way of investing their money by creating short term holiday accommodation for tourists. Such housing would be better used if it was for local residents to rent or buy to live in.
    Locations like Culross already have a sufficiency of tourists. In asking for change of use the investors usually argue that these tourists will spend money in the local pub, café or shop but of course they do not strengthen the community and deprive local people access to housing. A small fraction of them may also be disruptive in terms of how they behave.
    It may seem as if I am concerned only about Culross but I see it simply as an example of what is probably happening in Falkland and the villages and towns in the East Neuk of Fife and elsewhere. For example I read in the press that it is a problem in places like the High street in Edinburgh.
    I believe that this is something that local planners should have powers to consider when change of use is applied for. If not we will steadily allow the fabric of local communities like Culross to be destroyed.

  • Alison Johnston says:

    Can I (and others) still engage in the development of NPF4? In particular I would like to comment on consent given to windfarms and their effect on communities, given that construction of the 103 Viking Energy Windfarm is currently under way, with devastating effect on our beautiful island and peatlands.

  • JOHN GERRARD says:

    Please notify me when the participation statement is available.

    Many thanks