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NPF3 and SPP - Scottish Government Publishes Key Planning Documents

NPF3 and SPP - Scottish Government Publishes Key Planning Documents

The Scottish Government has today published the National Planning Framework 3 (NPF3) and the updated Scottish Planning Policy (SPP).

NPF3 is the Scottish Government’s spatial plan for the country that sets out a long term development strategy for the next 20 to 30 years.  NPF3 identifies 14 classes of national development – an eclectic mix ranging from the redevelopment of Dundee waterfront, strategic enhancements to Prestwick, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness Airports, redevelopment and enhancement of Aberdeen Harbour, as well as non site specific proposals such as environmental enhancements to establish a Central Scotland Green Network and a national digital fibre network. Where development is identified in NPF3, then planning permission and other approvals will still be required, but the need for the development cannot be challenged.

SPP sets out Scottish Government planning policy on nationally important land use matters across all types of development including energy, infrastructure and housing. The document released today replaces the version published in 2010.

The new document introduces a presumption in favour of “development that contributes to sustainable development”. This follows a similar approach to that taken in the English National Planning Framework published in 2012 which also contains a presumption in favour of sustainable development.  However, unlike that document, the SPP also provides a definition of sustainable development. Taken from Brundtland Commission, sustainable development is described as “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

NPF3 and the updated SPP are now relevant material considerations which planning authorities are required to take into account when determining planning applications.  As the principal statements of the Scottish Government on planning matters, they are key documents for anyone involved in the planning process in Scotland.

If you would like to discuss the issues raised in this blog or other development and consenting issues please get in touch.

Craig Whelton

Elaine Farquharson-Black