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Scottish NPF4 should be a route map for 'a different Scotland' after Covid-19 pandemic, says RTPI Scotland

Words: Martin Read
Scotland / iStock

RTPI Scotland has formally responded to the Scottish Government’s call for ideas on its new National Planning Framework (NPF4), setting out 10 ‘Big Ideas’ to help guide its format, shape and content.

The institute says the forthcoming NPF4 should include “a long-term vision to promote active and sustainable travel, prioritise climate action and champion decision-making to promote the wellbeing of future generations”.

A need exists to agree on what constitutes a new normal and on the steps required to achieve it, said RTPI Scotland convenor Irene Beautyman. “The current situation regarding Covid-19 shows the need to elevate the role of planning and the need to plan, prepare and provide a route map for a different Scotland when the pandemic is over.

“RTPI Scotland believes that the National Planning Framework provides an opportunity to shape Scotland’s new normal, to give a national context to proactive change that serves people, planet and equity and, in doing so, achieve net-zero carbon by 2045 and tackle health inequalities.”

People’s equal access to shops, green spaces, leisure and jobs, as well as the ways new behaviours will affect how communities interact, are issues that will, added Beautyman, “have an influence on the way our built environment must change in the future".

To ensure all these issues are taken into account NPF4 should provide a long-term vision of what Scotland should be like in 30 years’ time and set out clear milestones to provide the pathway to achieving these ambitions.

The RTPI’s 10 ‘Big Ideas’ are that NPF4 should:

  1. Embed the purpose of planning, to “manage the development and use of land in the long-term public interest”, recasting the measures of planning performance to be more focused on outcomes.
  2. Be accompanied by a 10-year capital investment programme with buy-in from across government.
  3. Be a key corporate document that influences Scottish Government decision-making and that has buy-in from all cabinet secretaries.
  4. Contain short, medium and long-term milestones reported on annually by a delivery oversight group (including representatives from younger generations).
  5. Prioritise climate action and the tackling of health inequalities structured on outcomes tied to planning authority performance assessment frameworks.
  6. Promote active and sustainable travel, including large-scale improvements to active and sustainable transport networks across Scotland as a national development.
  7. Embed the ‘reuse first’ principle, whereby previously used land, buildings, places, materials and infrastructure are given preference to new.
  8. Promote decision-making based on the wellbeing of future generations.
  9. Become The National Plan for Scotland – the spatial articulation of the Scottish Government’s National Outcomes.
  10. Embed and champion the Place Principle and Place Standard Themes.

The full detail of RTPI Scotland’s 10 big ideas for NPF4, can be found on the RTPI website.

Read more: 

Scottish planning act to be implemented by 2021

Covid-19: Face-to-face consultation to be replaced with online alternative in Scotland

Image credit | iStock