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Key Scottish planning documents published

Words: Roger Milne

Scottish Planning Minister Derek Mackay this week unveiled two key documents -the latest National Planning Framework (NPF) and the new version of Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) - which will shape development north of the Border.

The NPF3 provides a framework for the spatial development of Scotland as a whole and confirms the Government’s support for 14 large-scale national developments, including major regeneration schemes at Dundee Waterfront and Ravenscraig, carbon capture and storage schemes in Peterhead and Grangemouth, and support for improvements at Scottish airports.
The SPP sets out the priorities for operation of the planning system and for the development and use of land.   It directly relates to the preparation of development plans and the design of development. It will also shape local planning policy in areas such as transport, town centres, energy and infrastructure while balancing economic growth with protection of the environment
NPF3 and SPP also place a ban on wind farm development in the 19 per cent of Scotland identified as National Parks and National Scenic Areas. 
Significant protection is also provided for sensitive areas of land identified within Scottish Natural Heritage’s Wild Land Areas Map 2014, also just published. In total, approximately 30 per cent of Scotland’s landscape will benefit from stronger protection against inappropriate development.
In addition to the new rules protecting Scotland’s most scenic areas, tighter controls on onshore oil and gas developments have been introduced.
Mackay called the policy documents “a watershed for planning in Scotland”. He insisted: “Our ambition is to create great places that support economic growth across the country, and together, NPF3 and the SPP set out a shared vision for Scotland as a place which benefits from a positive planning system that protects our unique environment”.