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Scottish planning act to be implemented by 2021

Words: Laura Edgar
Scotland debates the planning bill / iStock-146908761

The Scottish Government has said it expects the majority of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 to be implemented by early 2021, paving the way for a fourth National Planning Framework.

The rest of the act will be implemented under specific timescales.

Transforming Planning in Practice – Post-Bill Work Programme acknowledges that the people want to see the act put into practice but that the government recognises that the volume of work that needs to be done in a short time will affect resources in the government as well as other organisations who are interested in planning.

“We want to take forward these reforms in a collaborative way and it is vital that people are able and have the capacity to participate in the reshaping of their planning system,” explains the document.

Scottish ministers will make regulations or issue guidance in order to implement the sections of the act, and engage with stakeholders to develop the proposals first before consulting on them.

Work has begun on preparing the fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4). Section 2 of the act, which allows for the preparation of the NPF, is due to come into force on 8 November. Also on this date, section 1 – the Purpose of Planning, which applies to the preparation of the NPF and local development plans (LDP), will come into force.

A draft of NPF4 is expected to be published for consultation in the third quarter (July to September) of 2020. The draft will be laid in Parliament so that representations can be made. The draft will then be revised.

Because of the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2021, it is expected that the final version of NPF4 would be laid in the third quarter of 2021, with approval anticipated in the final quarter of 2021.

Most planning authorities have LDPs that will be prepared and adopted by 2022. The government has proposed setting regulations and publishing guidance relating to LDPs in the final quarter of 2021 (October to December). Transitional arrangements to manage the changeover from current plans to the new LDPs will be announced “shortly”.

The programme outlines the Scottish Government’s review of permitted development rights that are granted under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992. A sustainability appraisal of the options for 16 development types has been carried out and is expected to be published soon, as will a programme for reviewing the order.

The early part of the review is set to include changes to help to address climate change, such as micro renewable technologies and measures to support the delivery of affordable homes in rural areas.

Planning minister Kevin Stewart said “removing red tape” from high-priority projects would help the Scottish Government to deliver its net-zero carbon goals.

“These proposals mark a new way forward for planning in Scotland. Our health, wellbeing and prosperity can be affected by where we live, so it is important we get it right.”

Transforming Planning in Practice – Post-Bill Work Programme can be found on the Scottish Government website (pdf).

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