National Planning Framework 4

November 2022

NPF4 Revised Draft published

The NPF4 Revised Draft was published as a downloadable PDF file on 8 November 2022.

The Scottish Government has also published

An analysis of the consultation on NPF4 which ran from November 2021 to March 2022
An Explanatory Report outlining the changes made between the original and the revised drafts.

Various interested bodies have commented on the revised draft

'The Planner' journal  -  Summary and comments
BEFS (Built Environment Forum Scotland) comments
Scottish Housing News  echoes 'The Planner's summary (same press release?) with additional comment on the implications of the new draft for housing, and the need for well-resourced local authorities and local Development plans in implementing the national framework


March 2022

HGFP responds to NPF4 consultation

Following a 'consultation workshop' held last month the Highland Good Food Partnership  has submitted a detailed response to the Scottish Government's consultation on the proposed new National Planning Framework 4.  All those responsible for the submission are to be congratulated on getting to grips with the complicated consultation document and preparing an articulate and intelligent response.

Read HGFP's response

John Muir Trust response to NPF4 consultation

Introduction to the JMT response

We need policies that require development proposals to demonstrate how they will address (for example, through design for nature, innovation, careful siting, construction materials) both the climate and biodiversity emergencies.  We also need policies that provide clear protections to nature-rich, wild places, such as peatlands and Scotland's Wild Land Areas, in addition to continued protections for sites designated for nature and landscape.  These are national natural assets for carbon storage and nature recovery as well as our health and wellbeing.

Read the response

JMT also produced, for the original consultation, a 'guide to responding', pointing out which policies in the framework apply to which planning topics/areas, and summarising JMT's view.

JMT is concerned that the wording of the revised draft offers insufficient protection to areas designated as 'Wild Land' by NatureScot.

March 2022

NPF4 consultation

The Scottish Government published its draft National Planning Framework 4 in November 2021, and public consultation on the draft closed on 31 March 2022.

The consultation website states

NPF4 will, when adopted, set out the Scottish Governments priorities and policies for the planning system up to 2045 and how our approach to planning and development will help to achieve a net zero, sustainable Scotland by 2045.  NPF4 differs from previous NPFs in two ways.  It incorporates Scottish Planning Policy and the NPF into a single document and will form a part of the statutory development plan.

In a foreword to the draft 130 page document, Tom Arthur MSP, Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth, writes

This, our fourth National Planning Framework, sets out how our approach to planning and development will help to achieve a net zero, sustainable Scotland by 2045.

The challenges that we are facing today demand a change in the way we plan our places for tomorrow. As we recover from the pandemic we have an opportunity to work towards net zero in a way which also tackles longstanding challenges and inequalities. We will need to future-proof places, be more innovative, and involve a wider range of people in planning. A shared spatial strategy can enable the investment and development that we will need, but we must do this in a way that benefits business and communities, our health and wellbeing and the environment. This will require us all to work collectively to ensure that decisions we make today are in the long-term public interest.

This draft National Planning Framework sets out a vision for how our places will change in the future. It reflects priorities across Scottish Government portfolios and brings together a wide range of plans, programmes and policies. It explains how we will work together to build sustainable, liveable, productive and distinctive places. Once adopted, we will support its delivery collectively.

NPF4 draft with inline consultation questions

PDF download  (text is same as above, which is easier to read)

An organisation called Planning Democracy has criticised the draft for not containing strong enough sustainability policies, and urged people to respond to the consultation 'because the environment and communities need a stronger voice in the planning world!'

Together we need to motivate the Scottish Government to strengthen the draft document for more just and sustainable planning decisions.

Although the official consultation is now closed, Planning Democracy's guide to responding helps to understand the implications and shortcomings of the NFP4 draft.

Another source of assistance in getting to grips with the proposals, particularly as they relate (or fail to relate) to Highland and rural areas and food policy, is a summary prepared by Helen O'Keefe, a trustee of Highland Good Food Partnership and the power behind the Elphin Green Bowl online foodmarket.


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