Supporting outdoor play

Planning reforms to boost play provision.

Children and young people will have more opportunities to play outside under new planning reforms.

Under the policy, local authorities will be encouraged to support planning applications for the development of play spaces, parks and sports facilities. 

The changes will increase opportunities for outdoor activity and help implement a commitment to incorporate children and young people’s rights into Scots law and practice.

New regulations are also being introduced to require local authorities to assess the adequacy of play spaces and consult local children and communities. This will ensure councils are better informed when making future provision for play in their local development plans.

Planning Minister Tom Arthur visited Figgate Park in Edinburgh ahead of laying the regulations in the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Arthur said:

“Children and young people of all ages need more opportunities to spend time outdoors playing safely.

“Figgate Park is a perfect example of what we can achieve in the long-term interests of children and young people by planning for and investing in outdoor play.

“Much clearer and stronger policy together with these new requirements will give more children and young people opportunities to spend time outdoors, supporting their wellbeing and fulfilling the Scottish Government’s commitment to incorporate children’s rights into law and practice.

“The Scottish Government is requiring planning authorities across the country to consider play provision when preparing their local development plans.

“By working together through planning policy and practice, we will make Scotland a better place to grow up.”


Incorporating children’s rights into law brings into effect part of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019.

The new Fourth National Planning Framework includes a new policy on play, recreation and sport to help create more opportunities for children and young people through planned development and in greenspaces. It also supports development proposals that protect and improve access to play and recreation within local communities.

Link to regulations

Link to play parks news release


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