National Planning Framework 4 is very supportive of renewable energy development.


NPF4 was adopted and published by the Scottish Ministers on 13 February 2023 at 9am. It sets out a spatial strategy for Scotland to 2045. It does not include marine areas, but acknowledges the role of onshore development in facilitating offshore renewable energy projects.

Policy 11

Policy 11 encourages, promotes and facilitates all forms of renewable energy development: onshore generation, storage, transmission and distribution infrastructure.

The objective is expansion of renewable, low-carbon and zero emissions technologies. That covers all renewable technologies, carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS), production of hydrogen using CCUS, and hydrogen production by electrolysis.

Local development plans

New local development plans prepared by local authorities are to seek to realise their area's full potential for electricity and heat from renewable, low carbon and zero emission sources by identifying a range of opportunities for energy development.

Designated areas

The only specific restriction is for wind farm development in National Parks and National Scenic Areas. Policy 4 explicitly supports, in principle, renewable energy development in Wild Land Areas.

Landscape and visual impact

"[significant landscape and visual impacts] are to be expected for some forms of renewable energy. Where impacts are localised and/or appropriate design mitigation has been applied, they will generally be considered to be acceptable" (Policy 11)

Net economic impact

Policy 11 states that renewable energy projects should maximise net economic impact, including local and community socio-economic benefits such as employment, associated business and supply chain opportunities.

National developments

Strategic renewable electricity generation (>50MW), transmission infrastructure, and pumped hydro storage, are identified by NPF4 as national developments.

Several specific locations are given national development status for classes of development which include aspects of renewable energy generation/ transmission, including production of hydrogen, and also quays to service renewable energy.


Neil Collar