NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR SCOTLAND
1. This is a framework to guide the spatial development of Scotland to 2025. It sets out a vision of Scotland in which other plans and programmes can share and to which they can contribute. It is not an economic development strategy but complements the Executive's Framework for Economic Development in Scotland, highlighting the importance of place and identifying priorities for investment in strategic infrastructure to enable each part of the country to play to its strengths in building a Scotland which is competitive, fair and sustainable. It is not intended to be a prescriptive blueprint, but will be a material consideration in framing planning policy and making decisions on planning applications and appeals. It will be taken into account by the Executive and its agencies in policy and spending decisions.
2. The Executive recognises the need to be systematic in deciding priorities for investment in infrastructure and area regeneration. Major projects cannot be delivered overnight. Achieving lasting added value for individual parts of the country and Scotland as a whole will require careful attention to planning, design and construction. To make a real difference and give confidence and certainty we need to start these processes now. The framework draws on a wide range of information on Scotland's development and the factors driving change. Strategic planning for Scotland's future must be evidence-based to ensure that resources are targeted where they can achieve most.
3. It is important that we look outwards and embrace the challenges and opportunities of globalisation and the enlargement of the European Union (EU):
- as the centre of gravity in Europe moves east, our location at the extreme north-west of Europe raises issues that need to be addressed;
- the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP), agreed between member states and the European Commission in 1999, sets out common objectives and principles for balanced and sustainable development and economic and social cohesion across the EU;
- the European Commission is encouraging the preparation of spatial planning frameworks to provide a context for resource allocation in an enlarged EU, and such frameworks could be a significant factor in European regional policy after 2006.
4. The framework describes Scotland as it is in 2004, identifies key issues and drivers of change, sets out a vision to 2025, and identifies priorities and opportunities for different parts of the country in spatial perspectives for the Central Belt, East Coast, Ayrshire and the South-West and Rural Scotland. The final section sets out the action which will be taken by the Executive and public agencies to progress the framework.
5. The framework has been prepared with extensive stakeholder involvement and its contents subjected to strategic environmental assessment. The Environmental Report has been placed on the Scottish Executive website at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Planning
The Executive intends to review the National Planning Framework in 4 years time.