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Principles of Scottish Planning Policy under the microscope

New policy includes a presumption in favour of sustainable development

The Scottish government is considering replacing key parts of its Scottish Planning Policy (SPP). 
The second SPP consultation sets out proposals for a Sustainability and Planning section to supersede the original policies on sustainable economic growth and sustainable development. A presumption in favour of sustainable development has also been introduced following the initial July 2013 consultation.
This means that the planning system should automatically contribute to economically, environmentally and socially sustainable places by enabling development that balances the costs and benefits of a proposal over the longer term. The aim is for the right development in the right place and not at any cost. 
The consultation states that decisions should be guided by the following principles:
  • To give due weight to net economic benefit;
  • To respond to economic and financial conditions, as outlined in local economic strategies;
  • To make efficient use of existing capacities of land, buildings and infrastructure;
  • To support delivery of housing, business, retail and leisure development;
  • To support delivery of infrastructure – for example transport, education, digital and water;
  • To support climate change mitigation and adaptation;
  • To protect and enhance cultural heritage, including the historic environment;
  • To protect, enhance and promote access to natural heritage, including water, air, soil, green infrastructure, landscape and the wider environment;
  • To reduce waste and facilitate its management;
  • To have regard to the principles for sustainable land use set out in the Land Use Strategy;
  • To avoid over-development and protect the amenity of new and existing development; and
  • To improve health and well-being by offering opportunities for social interaction and physical activity, including sport and recreation. 
Written responses are invited by 16 December 2013 and the final SPP will be published in June 2014.