Planning & Environment

Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) is over 3 years old. It was a radical change, consolidating the Scottish Government’s planning policy into a single document, replacing 19 SPPs/NPPGs.

The consultation draft for the new SPP has been published, with responses due by 23 July, the same day consultation closes on the draft National Planning Framework 3. Unlike the draft NPF3, which is a main issues report, and therefore more discursive, the draft SPP is in a final form.

So – first impressions:

  • similar size – 264 paragraphs, the SPP has 257 – but it seems shorter, because it’s punchier
  • it’s had a “corporate makeover” – there’s less planning-speak, especially at the beginning, and it’s less wordy
  • more structure, with a distinction between Principal Policies and Subject Policies, and each section divided into: policy principles, key documents, and delivery (and for Subject Policy sections, there is also NPF context, and delivery is divided into development planning and development management)
  • new category – “Principal Policies” – which gives a better focus than the SPP. This includes Placemaking, which has been given increased prominence by the Scottish Government since the SPP was published. Location of New Development is also a Principal Policy, including Town Centres and Rural Development moved from the Subject Policies in the existing SPP.
  • Subject Policies – now sub-divided into: Buildings (homes, business and employment, historic environment), Natural Resources (natural environment, green infrastructure, extraction, aquaculture), Movement (travel), and Utilities (heat and electricity, digital communication, flood risk and drainage, waste)

I’m liking it so far. More reaction to follow.

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