Key Agencies Group minutes: September 2021

Minutes from the Key Agencies Group meeting held on 16 September 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Katherine Lakeman – SEPA (KAG Chair)
  • Tim Moss – Architecture and Design Scotland (KAG Secretariat)
  • Helen Fallas – British Geological Survey
  • Alan Farquhar – SEPA
  • Kate Givan – Architecture and Design Scotland
  • Jason Gillespie – Systra (Transport Scotland)
  • Heather Holland – HOPS
  • Sasha Laing – Forestry Scotland
  • Peter Noad – Scottish Enterprise
  • Alasdair McKenzie - Historic Environment Scotland
  • Trevor Moffat – Planning Improvement Service
  • Fiona Rice – Nature Scot
  • Graham Robinson – Scottish Government
  • Graham Saunders – Historic Environment Scotland
  • Susanne Stevenson – Scottish Water


  • David Carmichael – Scottish Water
  • Lorraine Jones – Sport Scotland
  • Katherine Pollard – Scottish Land Commission
  • Adele Shaw – Historic Environment Scotland
  • David Stewart – Scottish Land Commission
  • David Wood – Planning Aid for Scotland (PAS)

Items and actions


Members of the Key Agencies Group met online on Thursday 16th September 2021. Katherine Lakeman chaired the meeting. Several topics were discussed including the response to NPF4, high level planning performance and a request from Katherine for the help progressing the Draft Terms of Reference. We were also pleased to hear from Tanith Allinson, SEPA, who gave a presentation on the Cleaner Air for Scotland 2. Graham Robinson, of Scottish Government’s Planning and Architecture Division also provided an update on Local Place Plan Regulations.

Forthcoming KAG meeting dates

  • 25th November 2021
  • 24th March 2022
  • 23rd June 2022


  • welcome, introductions and apologies
  • Planning Act and other updates (Chair)
    • High Level Planning Performance Group update
    • NPF4 / national planning reform including work programme
  • sub-group updates
    • Skills & training / Partner in Planning (Fiona Rice, Nature Scot)
    • Placemaking / Green Recovery (Katherine Lakeman, SEPA)
    • Environmental Evidence (Helen Fallas, BGS)
    • Vacant and Derelict Land (David Stewart, SLC)
  • draft Terms of Reference – Progress and next steps on updated version (Tim Moss, A&DS and Katherine Lakeman, SEPA)
  • comfort break
  • Cleaner Air for Scotland 2 – Role of Key Agencies to support a place based approach (Tanith Allinson - Air Quality Specialist, SEPA)
  • Local Place Plan Regulations – Update and discussion (Graham Robinson, Scottish Government: Planning and Architecture Division)
  • AOB
  • meeting close

1. Welcome, introduction and apologies

2. Planning Act and Other Updates

High Level Planning Performance Group updates

KL reported that after a long absence the High Level Meetings have restarted with a meeting held on 14 September with the new Minister with the planning portfolio in attendance, Tom Arthur MSP.  Various items were discussed including:

  • an update on the planning reform work programme from the Chief Planner, Fiona Simpson.
  • resourcing issues with planning authorities.  It was agreed to set up a short life working group with the Scottish Government to consider how these could be best addressed.
  • Planning Performance Framework (PPF) markers.  There was a discussion about how these have changed over the past 18 months and HoPS will take it back to their Executive Committee for further thought.  It was also agreed that a dialogue is needed with the Key Agencies to consider future PPF expectations for them moving forwards.
  • Planning Improvement Coordinator.  The SG shared some initial thoughts on the scope of this role and applicant requirements which were discussed.  They will take away feedback and bring a more worked up proposal to the next meeting.
  • Group membership.  There was a discussion around expanding group membership to other planning stakeholders such as industry groups.  It was agreed that a pre-meet with such groups would be more appropriate and should include all stakeholders including community representation.

Trevor highlighted how the performance markers for planning performance frameworks were out of date, due to covid-19. Many PPFs will be taking a lighter touch approach to the reports.

Action: KL to get in touch with Chris Sinclair to discuss PPFs for Key Agencies moving forwards.

NPF4 / national planning reform including work programme

KL shared an update received from Andy Kinnaird on the publication of the updated work programme. Both NPF4 and development planning regulations are still due to come out late autumn. There is discussion on phasing some of the new policies to ensure proper consultation can take place. Kate Givan asked whether further engagement would take place prior to a draft document would be released, and engagement concerns were noted in terms of responding to national developments once the initial draft was out.  

Actions: KL to contact the SG to request if Agencies can have sight of consultation draft before publication.

KL to convene NPF4 sub-group once consultation draft is published to inform joint Agency response.

3. Sub-group updates

Skills & training / Partner in Planning (Fiona Rice, Nature Scot)

No updates so far. New meeting planned soon but not confirmed yet. This is to be followed up with RTPI.

Placemaking / Green Recovery (Katherine Lakeman, SEPA)

Actively working with Fife and East Ayrshire. In East Ayrshire, there was a workshop in Kilmarnock on blue-green infrastructure, looking at design solutions to meet the challenges being faced. In Stewarton, a workshop in held in August and had positive feedback, we aim to look at this and other feedback to be sure our process is working.  In Fife a workshop a workshop is scheduled to explore a place-based approach to evidence needs for their LDP review at the workshop on 28th of September. More projects are moving forward in the coming months.

KL was given a slot to raise awareness of the group’s activities at the Heads of Planning development planning sub-committee recently. It was good to receive positive feedback from East Ayrshire and Fife Councils at the meeting.  Irene Beautyman suggested that it would be useful to deliver a session through the Improvement Service’s Planning Skills programme to share the lessons we are learning.  

Environmental Evidence (Helen Fallas, BGS)

Work is planned as part of feed in work to the Scottish Governments’ Digital Planning Platform. We are at the final stages of this project. More needs to be realised in terms of the complexities around the datasets before work is complete. No further updates from Improvement Service.

Vacant and Derelict Land (David Stewart, SLC)

No update unable to attend todays meeting. No meetings held since last general meeting, Update is expected to take place prior to next meeting.

4. Draft Terms of Reference – Progress and next steps on updated version (Tim Moss, A&DS and Katherine Lakeman, SEPA)

KL reminded members that at the last meeting we shared draft terms of reference to the group for feedback.  Feedback is still appreciated.  

Action:   TM will recirculate the draft Terms of Reference an d ALL to provide feedback by 15 October to KL/TM.

5, Cleaner Air for Scotland 2 – Role of Key Agencies to support a place based approach (Tanith Allinson - Air Quality Specialist, SEPA)

Tanith Allinson, who has been seconded to Scottish Government to develop the strategy, discussed the new placed based approach being taken towards air quality by Scottish Government.

The original strategy, developed in 2019, was the first taken by Scottish Government and focussed on health and environment; placemaking; agricultural, domestic and industrial emissions. The new key themes are: Health, Integrated policy, Placemaking, Data, Public engagement and behaviour change, Industrial emissions regulation, Tackling non-road transport emissions sources, Transport governance and further review. Her presentation focused on placemaking, in order to deliver more positive quality, sustainable places. The approach taken in short utilises the place principle to bring ideas about investments under one roof. The objective is to focus on nature-based solutions, stressing their co-benefits, and aligning transport and placemaking agendas together.

CAFS2 actions taken forward are to introduce new tools for measuring air quality, build an evidence base of blue and green interventions affects on air quality, and work with local authorities to embed air quality improvements across their suite of policies. The next step is to embed effective governance – a ministerial group convening annually will ensure CAFS2 is rolled out. Gillian Dick joined the event to help share further context around the earlier CAFS strategy and underlined the importance of place-based approaches. Peter Noad asked about guidance incoming to agencies and where private sector will be involved in the process, there are plan the implementation process can make advances. Guidance from the last strategy covered where the air quality impacts of development can be reduced.

For local authorities, with local elections coming up, Gillian Dick stressed the coming importance of this approach. Retrofitting solutions are important and often easier for local authorities, legislation is behind on enforcing this change.

Action: it was agreed that it would be useful to have Key Agency representation on the CAFS2 Placemaking Working Group.  TA will be in touch to organise.

6. Local Place Plan Regulations – Update and discussion (Graham Robinson, Scottish Government: Planning and Architecture Division)

Graham Robinson presented on proposals for local place plan regulations. Graham is working on the provisions laid out for LPPs. LPPs are collaborative, community-led plans that support community aspirations for the delivery of great places. These will support Local Development Plans. LPPs will regard NPF4 and LDP

No set process for LPPs as of yet, regulations discuss a preparatory stage and submissions phase structure for development of LPPs. How do you handle engagement in the process? Legislation requires a process for ward councillors, a register of maps for councils. These are based on pilot schemes at Foxbar, Renfrewshire and Scalloway in Shetland.

The draft ‘How to’ guide, published recently, shows how a place plan can look and how engagement can take shape. Key outstanding questions put by Graham were how Key Agencies can support priorities, the status of draft guidance and the role communities can have in guiding the legislation.

Peter Noad asked on questions for the implications on land holdings. Kate Givan asked about how the balance of support can be given where some authorities may have communities with less capacity and assets. Graham pointed to the drafting of LPP in Wester Hailles and Foxbar, both areas with communities with high levels of depravation. The scale of the local place plan may dictate the scale offered by local authorities. Tim Moss asked about how Community Wealth Building Bill could interact with incoming regulations. Graham pointed to changing brief of planning minister to include community wealth. A new possibility of community prospectus set out, presents an opportunity to grow strength of community asset transfers as well. Graham pointed out that, given the light touch nature of the regulations, it would be difficult to ascertain the amount of plans that would come forward.

7. AOB

  • Peter Noad shared on Scottish Enterprises involvement in Our Place portal, and highlighted potential for KAG joint involvement here.
  • there was a discussion around whether to put back the date of the next meeting to 16 December.  KL will confirm asap.


Appendix 1 Action log from last meeting




All Agencies to begin the process of considering what are the key information/data requirements which they require during the review and assessment of land allocations or planning application assessment, to inform the further development of the Planning Gateway tool as being developed by the Scottish Government.



Sarah Shaw (HoPS) to enquire if Scottish Government attending next HoPS Development Management meeting and will advise KAG of their response to questions raised

Sarah Shaw


All to complete table as circulated by Anna regarding individual agency role, remit, functions and staff for Matt Lowther at Public Health Scotland to inform understanding of KAG input and role in planning system.



Katherine to circulate Service Level Agreement for Agencies to update as appropriate



Tim to publish individual agency responses to NPF4 on the Key Agencies website.

All/Tim Moss


Hellen Fallas to circulate a report from the Data Pathfinder project to the KAG group

Hellen Fallas


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