255. The planning system should be outcome focused, supporting the creation of high quality, accessible and sustainable places through new development, regeneration and the protection and enhancement of natural heritage and historic environment assets. The planning system has a significant role in promoting a pattern of development which helps to reduce Scotland's carbon footprint and facilitates adaptation to climate change, in facilitating the generation of power and heat from low carbon sources and in the achievement of waste management targets. When conflicts between objectives arise, decisions should be made in line with local priorities and needs as identified in the development plan.
256. Planning authorities should be clear about the standard of development that is required. These expectations should be informed by an understanding of the qualities of their places and the underlying economics of development. This principle applies from major urban expansion and regeneration through to the design of individual houses and other minor developments. Quality of place is not just determined by buildings, but by how they work together and how the streets and spaces between buildings work. Through development plans, supplementary guidance and engagement with applicants, agents and communities on individual proposals, planning authorities should be clear about their expectations on quality and standards early in the planning process. Local design policies should enable informed judgements on development proposals, but should not create a rigid or formulaic approach to decision making. Design is an important consideration and planning permission may be refused, and the refusal defended at appeal or local review, solely on design grounds. The Scottish Government's policy on design is explained in Designing Places and in Designing Streets.
257. The planning system should be judged by the extent to which it maintains and creates places where people want to live, work and spend time. This is a major challenge which will require permission for inappropriate development to be refused, conditions imposed to regulate development and agreements reached on actions to mitigate impacts on amenity, natural heritage, historic environment and communities. Efficient and inclusive planning are important elements of the modernised planning system, but it is through the maintenance and creation of high quality sustainable places that the most significant contribution to increasing sustainable economic growth can be made.