Planning & Environment

Chapter 3 – the plot so far: the Scottish Government have published the Main Issues Report for the National Planning Framework (NPF) 3.

“A natural place to invest” is the second key priority: “Our aim is to respect, enhance and make responsible use of our natural and cultural assets”.

This is a fairly short chapter. The only specific new proposal is to designate as a national development a suite of priority projects for long-distance paths and trails.

It does pose some questions which seem certain to set off some lobbying, for example:

Q7 “Should NPF3 propose any specific actions in relation to the role of land use in meeting climate change targets, for example woodland expansion, peatland or habitat restoration? Should the strategy be more aspirational in supporting the development of a National Ecological Network?”

Q8 “Would it be helpful for NPF3 to highlight the particular significance of habitat enhancement and compensatory environmental measures around the Firth of Forth?”.

The Report doesn’t always take a consistent approach, possibly because of poor editing. For instance, under “Tourism, recreation and the visitor economy”, there are no specific questions identified. However, there is a statement (question?) that NPF3 could highlight areas where tourism potential could be further developed, such as the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve and Dark Skies Park. An implicit invitation for some lobbying?

On waste and resource management, the Report says there is a need to maintain a flexible, market-driven approach. However, Q10 suggests there is still room for debate: “Should NPF3 support a decentralised approach to provision for waste management or should NPF3 make provision for more strategic waste facilities?”.

Neil Collar

Partner at Brodies LLP
Neil is a partner at Brodies LLP and consistently rated as one of Scotland’s leading planning lawyers. He is well known for both his planning inquiry advocacy and his advisory work. Neil has a particular interest in renewable energy developments.
Neil Collar