Climate Change Act – Section 72: fourteenth annual report

Information and conclusions fulfilling annual reporting requirements on the operation of Section 3F of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (introduced by Section 72 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009).

1. Summary

1.1 Annual reporting on the operation of Section 3F of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (as introduced by Section 72 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009) is a requirement of Section 73 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

1.2 Annual reporting on the legislation must consider its operation, effectiveness, and continuing need. This report also addresses matters highlighted in the previous annual report.

1.3 Section 3F states:

‘A planning authority, in any local development plan prepared by them, must include policies requiring all developments in the local development plan area to be designed so as to ensure that all new buildings avoid a specified and rising proportion of the projected greenhouse gas emissions from their use, calculated on the basis of the approved design and plans for the specific development, through the installation and operation of low and zero-carbon generating technologies.’

1.4 The previous annual report noted in its conclusion:

‘...that changes planned in building and heat standards may mean that Section 3F may not be required in the future.’

1.5 National planning policies now go further than Section 3F and consider lifecycle as well as in-use emissions. There is also a new system of local development planning in place, which does not require repetition of national planning policies. The New Build Heat Standard, coming into force on 1 April 2024 through building regulations, targets heating related emissions as a significant source and removes current emissions compliance calculation methodology.

1.6 On balance it is concluded that after 1 April 2024 the latest policy and regulatory position goes beyond what Section 3F can achieve and that the requirement to include policies within development plans under Section 3F is no longer necessary.

1.7 This report also finds that removing Section 3F ensures that resources are used most efficiently and reflects a natural progression of policy that forms internationally strong leadership on emissions reduction, which will continue as National Planning Framework 4 and the New Build Heat Standard are applied.

1.8 The conclusion that the legislation is no longer necessary enables Scottish Ministers to prepare an Order to repeal the legislation, as provided for by Section 73(2) of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.



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