Publication - Publication

Climate Change Plan: third report on proposals and policies - written statement

Published: 28 Feb 2018

Our formal response to the reports prepared by the four Parliamentary Committees who scrutinised proposals and policies in the draft Climate Change Plan.

Contents
Climate Change Plan: third report on proposals and policies - written statement
Planning

Planning

Local Government Committee

1. The Committee recommended that more emphasis is given to how the planning system can contribute to behavioural change and active and sustainable modes of travel in the transport section of the Plan. (91)

  • A key principle of the Scottish Government's Scottish Planning Policy is that new developments should support walkable access to local amenities, which are also accessible by bike and public transport. The Scottish Government has a transport hierarchy policy of supporting opportunities for people to walk and cycle first, followed by travel by public transport, followed by travel by private cars. Further information has been added on the role of the planning system in the Transport Chapter of the Plan.

2. The Committee was disappointed that there is a lack of information in the Plan on how the planning system can contribute to a modal shift away from single vehicular use to more sustainable and active forms of travel. (90)

  • The Scottish Government accepts this recommendation and further information has been added on the role of the planning system in sustainable and active travel in the Transport Chapter and The Planning System section of the Plan.

3. The Committee recommended that the final version of the Plan should set out how the Scottish Government will use the planning system to encourage the development of brownfield sites and protect green space. (97, 98)

  • Our principle policy on placemaking set out in Scottish Planning Policy is clear that planning should direct development to the right place, a principle of which is considering the re-use or re-development of brownfield land before new development takes place on greenfield sites. Scottish Planning Policy can be downloaded from the Scottish Government's website. [10]
  • Scottish Planning Policy is clear that planning should protect, enhance and promote green infrastructure including open space and green networks as an integral component of successful placemaking. Development plans should be informed by relevant, up-to-date audits, strategies and action plans covering green infrastructure's multiple functions. Local development plans should identify and protect open space identified in the open space audit and strategy as valued and functional or capable of being brought into use to meet local needs.
  • Scottish Planning Policy is also clear that consideration should be given to the permanent, temporary or advanced greening of all or some of a site could make a valuable contribution to green and open space networks, particularly where it is unlikely to be developed for some time or is unsuitable for development due to its location or viability issues.
  • Furthermore, Scottish Planning Policy is clear that most new urban development should take place within, or in planned extensions to, existing settlements. It seeks a tailored approach to settlement pattern which seeks to provide a sustainable network of settlements. In pressured areas the designation of green belts may be appropriate but the focus is on the spatial strategy of the development plan delivering an appropriate response to the pressures, assets, needs and opportunity of the area.

4. The Committee asked for further information on how the Scottish Government will work with local authorities to ensure planners and key decision makers have the right skills to ensure that climate change impact is properly considered in decisions relating to planning. (115)

  • The planning review highlighted the importance of skills development in planning. We will work with the Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland, Heads of Planning Scotland, COSLA, and the Improvement Service to ensure the importance of skills development is recognised.

5. The Committee recommended that there should be more information on community involvement in the planning process in the final Plan. (79, 80,81)

  • The Scottish Government supports community engagement in the planning system. The Planning System section of the Plan has been updated to include information on engagement in the planning system.

6. The Committee requested that the Scottish Government brings forward more detailed policy and proposal information regarding planning. (64)

  • The planning system will be influenced by policy outcomes from the Plan and actions across the sectors identified in the plan. We have updated the text in The Planning System section highlighting that the Plan will be a fundamental information source for the preparation of the next National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy, anticipated to be published in 2020. The planning system is not a 'sector' in its own right and therefore is not provided with an emissions envelope by the TIMES model. The approach of the Plan is to include policies which can be directly attributed to a reduction in emissions, which is not the case for the planning system.
  • Where the planning system does have a role to play, this has been highlighted in The Planning System section and within the individual sector chapters.

7. The Committee requested that the Scottish Government provide the Committee a full update on the decision taken regarding the removal of Section 3F from The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 as a result of the repeal of Section 72 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. (107, 108)

  • Following initial consultation, Scottish Ministers published in June 2017 a consultation 'Places, people and planning, Position Statement'. This set out an initial set of proposals for the content of the Planning Bill. Having previously sought views in the initial consultation on the potential to remove Section 3F of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, the Position Statement states: 'There appears to be general support for this, based on our view that it has limited added value. However, there are some concerns that removing this appears to be inconsistent with the aspirations of the emerging Plan. Given our commitment to climate change and the need for every policy area to contribute to reducing emissions, it is not our intention to progress this through the Planning Bill.' Indeed the Planning (Scotland) Bill introduced to the Parliament 4 December 2017 does not include the removal of Section 3F.

Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee

1. The Committee recommended the integration of land-use plans within the Plan to create a regional perspective and allow consideration of land-use strategies at a strategic level. (266)

  • National Planning Framework 3 and Scottish Planning Policy were informed by 'Low Carbon Scotland: Report of Proposals and Policies'. The next iteration of National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy will be informed by the Plan.
  • The text in The Planning System section of the Plan sets out the revised approach to regional level planning set out in the Planning (Scotland) Bill, introduced to Parliament 4 December 2017. This approach allows issues to be tackled over a relevant geography using the collective powers of all relevant parties.

2. The Committee urged the Scottish Government to develop the sections on land-use and planning in the Plan. In addition, it called on the Scottish Government to integrate climate change impact assessments into planning decision, weighing economic benefits with the overall ambition of reducing carbon emissions. (227)

  • Information about the role of the planning system in facilitating delivery of the Plan has been enhanced throughout the Plan.
  • Through the Strategic Environmental Assessment of Local Development Plans, planning authorities can explore the potential contribution a plan, programme or strategy ( PPS) is likely to make to greenhouse gas emissions, with the aim of trying to avoid or reduce significantly adverse emissions where feasible.
  • In relation to individual planning decisions, regulations governing Environmental Impact Assessment already require an assessment, where appropriate, of any likely significant effects on climate.

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