National Planning Framework 4: final business and regulatory impact assessment

This final business and regulatory impact assessment accompanies National Planning Framework 4. It considers the potential costs and benefits to businesses and other stakeholder arising from the National Planning Framework 4 Revised Draft.

Final Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment

Title of Proposal: Draft Revised National Planning Framework 4

Purpose and intended effect


The purpose of planning is to manage the development and use of land in the long-term public interest. The decisions we make today will have implications for future generations. We must embrace and deliver radical change so we can tackle and adapt to climate change, restore biodiversity loss, improve health and wellbeing, reduce inequalities, build a wellbeing economy and create great places.

  • Scotland 2045: our Fourth National Planning Framework, commonly known as NPF4, is required by law to set out the Scottish Ministers' policies and proposals for the development and use of land. Scotland's third National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) were published in June 2014 and will remain in place until the Scottish Ministers' adoption of NPF4.
  • The new NPF4 sits within a wider programme of planning reform which aims to simplify and strengthen the planning system to ensure it better serves all of Scotland's communities.
  • This Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) considers the potential costs and benefits to businesses and other stakeholders arising from the Draft Revised NPF4 ('NPF4').


NPF4 sets out a long-term spatial strategy and national planning policies for Scotland. Looking ahead to 2045, it considers how we will work together in the coming years to improve people's lives by making sustainable, liveable and productive places. This will play a key role in delivering on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as well as our national outcomes.

NPF4 is required by law to contribute to 6 outcomes:

  • Meeting the housing needs of people living in Scotland including, in particular, the housing needs for older people and disabled people,
  • Improving the health and wellbeing of people living in Scotland,
  • Increasing the population of rural areas of Scotland,
  • Improving equality and eliminating discrimination,
  • Meeting any targets relating to the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases, and
  • Securing positive effects for biodiversity.

NPF4 includes:

  • A spatial strategy for Scotland to 2045;
  • 18 national developments – significant developments of national importance that will help to deliver the spatial strategy;
  • Regional Spatial Priorities – setting out how each part of the country can use their assets and opportunities to help deliver the overall strategy. The detail of these priorities should be further considered and consulted upon through the local development planning process, and where appropriate through Regional Spatial Strategies and Regional Transport Strategies.
  • National Planning Policies – the detailed planning policies for use in day-to-day decision making that collectively provide a policy framework to meet the strategy intentions that will be consistently applied across Scotland; (See Appendix A)
  • A Minimum All-Tenure Housing Land Requirement for each planning authority in Scotland.

Rationale for Government intervention

The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, as amended, requires Scottish Ministers to review the current NPF no later than 23 June 2024 and either, a) revise the NPF; or b) publish an explanation of why they have decided not to revise it. Regardless of timetable considerations, there have been numerous significant changes in wider society since the publication of NPF3 that necessitate an updated NPF. These include:

  • The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made clear the very real threat and heightened risk the climate emergency poses to the planet. Scotland's ambitious targets for addressing climate change demand a fresh approach to how we plan for development and infrastructure.
  • The twin climate and nature crises mean we need to ensure decisions we make today are in the long term interests of tomorrow.
  • The coronavirus pandemic, which has highlighted how the places where we live and work can make a big difference to our health and wellbeing. The need for a green economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, and the role that planning can play in that.
  • Changing population demographics both now and in the future, which mean we need to focus more on improved health and wellbeing and a better natural environment for everyone.
  • A continued need for enough good quality homes, in the right places, alongside the services and facilities that communities need.

It is considered that NPF4 contributes to all of the National outcomes set out in the National Performance Framework.


Within Government

Responsibility for preparing NPF4 lies within the Planning, Architecture and Regeneration Division of the Scottish Government. A small team was set up within this Division to undertake the drafting of the document, with input from colleagues across the wider Division who have oversight of individual policy topics. More widely, the views of colleagues throughout the Scottish Government and its Agencies have been sought at each stage of the preparation process. This included officials responsible for policies covering topics such as the natural and built environment, climate change, transport, housing, etc. At each stage of the NPF4 preparation process, we have sought to develop an evidence base on the potential impacts arising.

Public consultation – Call for Ideas

Between January and April 2020, we held an open call for ideas to hear views on what Scotland should be like in 2050 and the changes needed to get there from a planning point of view, and invited suggestions for national developments. A number of resources were provided to stimulate debate.

350 written responses were received to the call for ideas from a wide range of stakeholders and members of the public. There were also 180 participants at roadshow events across the country and a further 100 people came to drop-in sessions. Responses to the call for ideas can be viewed online[1].

An Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) Screening/Scoping Report accompanied the call for ideas. This noted that a BRIA was to be prepared to assess the likely costs, benefits and risks of any proposed policy changes that may have an impact on the public, private or third sectors. However, there were no comments made on this issue in the responses to the call for ideas. This was likely to be because, at that stage, it was unclear what policies would be changed so it was not possible to assess any potential costs and savings. It is generally indicative of past consultations where industry will initially prioritise commenting on specific policy issues rather than focussing on the likely costs and benefits that changes of policy will have on the sector.

Public consultation - Position Statement

The Scottish Government published a Position Statement[2] in November 2020. This reflected on the wealth of information received through the call for ideas engagement programme. The Position Statement was intended to inform further discussions around the policies that could be developed to address the issues raised through the call for ideas.

The Position Statement signalled a key shift towards a net zero agenda and set out thinking over 4 key themes – Net Zero Emissions, Resilient Communities, Wellbeing Economy and Better, Greener Places. It signalled some of the most significant changes that were expected to be explored in the development of NPF4.

The views of stakeholders and the public were sought on the Position Statement. 252 responses were received through the consultation. Both the consultation responses and an independent Analysis of Responses are available to view online.[3]

Public consultation – Draft NPF4

Draft NPF4[4] was laid in the Scottish Parliament on 10 November 2021 for Parliamentary scrutiny. Alongside Parliament's consideration of the draft NPF4, the Scottish Government invited comments from all stakeholders. The public consultation was launched on 10 November 2021 and closed on 31 March 2022.

The consultation asked 70 open questions and included a question inviting comments on a partial BRIA[5] which was published alongside the Draft. In total 761 responses were analysed, of which 539 were submitted by organisations and 222 by individual members of the public. The independent analysis of consultation responses is available online[6].

The total responses included 82 responses from development, property or land management companies or representative bodies; 58 responses from energy-related suppliers, developers associations or representative bodies and 20 responses from Planning, development, architectural or environmental consultancies.

Question 70 asked respondents for their comments on the Partial BRIA that accompanied the consultation, and generated around 45 responses.

In brief, some of the issues raised are summarised below:

  • Concerns that the cumulative resource burden on planning authorities and additional resources will be required and should be considered through a skills and resource plan.
  • Doubt that the introduction of a MATHLR for each planning authority will reduce workload.
  • National policies need to be clear and robust to ensure the kind of certainty which will enable developers to engage less with the planning system.
  • The impact of limited local authority resourcing on businesses dependent on the planning system to identify sites for business e.g. housebuilders, energy sector and digital network.
  • Planning authorities will require a skills plan.
  • Calls for work on monitoring to combine with wider performance work including planning performance frameworks and RTPI work on monitoring outcomes.

BRIA Consultation

As part of the consultation on NPF4, background information on the BRIA and a questionnaire was sent to around 33 key stakeholders from across Scotland, including key business and industry representatives (See Appendix B). Those contacted included regulatory bodies, business representatives and professional representative bodies. Contacts were encouraged to send the questionnaire on to their memberships to encourage a response from businesses. Meetings were offered to the 33 key stakeholders and their members but none took up the offer.

Two responses were received which supplemented the information received through question 70 of the consultation. One was from a local authority who set out details of the additional resource requirement and savings resulting from NPF4. They noted the reduced frequency of examination as a key cost saving. However increased costs were noted associated with additional consultation requirements; the evidence report and the preparation of Regional Spatial Strategies among other things.

The RTPI held the following consultation events during the consultation period on behalf of the Scottish Government:

  • Business roundtable – 7 Feb 2022
  • Energy roundtable – 14 Feb 2022
  • Environment roundtable – 16 Feb 2022
  • Housebuilding roundtable – 9 Feb 2022

The business roundtable included 9 representatives and provided an opportunity to discuss NPF4 in the context of business, facilitated by the RTPI. Further meetings took place during the consultation period with key groups where business and regulatory issues were discussed. This included meeting with the housing industry's representative body as well as rural economy and communities representatives. The information received has been used alongside the Draft NPF4 consultation feedback to inform this Final BRIA.

The Scottish Government has engaged individually with a range of business interests as part of the policy development process. The comments received focussed strongly on how policies could be developed so that the high level outcomes could be achieved, including the contribution that specific business sectors could make. The issue of resourcing within planning authorities and potential additional burdens on applicants were also discussed.


Option 1: No change

The amended Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 requires the Scottish Ministers to review or revise the NPF by 23 June 2024. This approach would require the Scottish Ministers to publish an explanation of why they have decided not to revise the NPF. In practice, Scotland's third NPF and the existing SPP, which were published in June 2014, would remain in place. In view of the significant changes in wider society since the publication of NPF3, it is considered that a revised NPF is required.

Option 2: The Government's preferred strategy

NPF4 is a long term plan looking to 2045. It guides spatial development, sets out our national planning policies, designates national developments and highlights regional spatial priorities. It will be part of the statutory development plan for the first time, and will directly influence decisions on planning applications across Scotland.

The Scottish Government's Programme for Government 2021-2022 highlighted the role of NPF4 in accelerating emissions reduction and responding to COVID-19. This will be done as part of a cohesive plan to update existing strategies, policies and the national developments needed to ensure that the planning system effectively contributes to the delivery of wider policies around issues such as climate change; biodiversity, infrastructure; population change; health and wellbeing; good quality homes and the green economic recovery.

Option 3: Non-regulatory options

The preparation of NPF is a statutory requirement. Recent changes to planning legislation mean NPF4 will have an enhanced status as part of the statutory development plan which informs planning decision making in each planning authority area. Any alternative strategy used to deliver national policies would not have the same status and influence as NPF4 and would likely need to be brought forward in a piecemeal way as the Scottish Government seeks to ensure that the planning system is changed to deliver wider policy priorities. This could result in a confusing and weakened landscape for planning decisions which would affect the whole sector.

Sectors and groups affected

Business – all options

NPF4 is a strategic document likely to impact on all business sectors across Scotland who are likely, in the future, to engage with the planning system through the submission of a planning application or commenting on applications that affect them. It may also influence businesses' decision-making on what they do with their land. Forming part of the development plan, NPF4 will influence how decisions on such applications are made. The most significant impacts will be on business that are dependent on the planning system for identifying new sites for their ongoing operations. This will, in particular, include housebuilders, digital network providers and the renewable energy, tourism and culture, minerals and aquaculture sectors.

The move away from individual local policies in every local authority area, towards more consistently applied national planning policies through NPF4, will provide greater certainty to developers. This will also considerably reduce the number of occasions where they will need to engage with the planning system on the development of policies that affect their businesses. The impact of specific policies on their businesses may therefore be magnified compared to previous arrangements. Comments received on the partial BRIA highlighted that benefits from increased certainty will only be fully realised if national planning policies are sufficiently clear and robust.

Proposals can also directly impact business where NPF4 designates a proposal as a national development. Where the development is consented through the planning system, the prospective applicant is required to undertake additional consultation before applying (pre-application consultation) for planning permission. In some consenting regimes further procedures may be triggered by national development status. However, establishing the need for a national development should facilitate an application's passage through the planning system and care has been taken to ensure that National Development descriptions avoid adding substantial procedure in a disproportionate way, for example to relatively minor developments.

Local authorities – all options

Local authorities are also affected in that they are required to take account of NPF4 in preparing their local development plans. Previously, those plans would include planning policies specific to the development plan area. However, the intention is to reduce the need for local policies by introducing national planning policies that apply across Scotland, while still leaving scope for local variation in policies where appropriate. This will free up time and resources for local authorities to focus on spatial elements in their development plans, although not all consultation respondents agreed with this. Responses to the partial BRIA highlighted that where NPF4 policies introduce requirements for assessments to be undertaken in new work areas, this will require investment in skills development. However, not all respondents agreed with this. It is normal for changes in policy and/or new types of development featuring in the planning system to require some degree of skills and knowledge development.

Where a national development is designated within a local authority area there are additional requirements on the processing of any associated application for planning permission, including pre-application consultation and pre-determination hearings.

Housing is critical to a wide range of socio-economic issues. Experience of the pandemic has highlighted the importance of quality homes in quality places. There is therefore a need to focus on accelerating delivery and improving the quality of homes and places. This can be supported by introducing a long-term, strategic and public interest approach that clearly, consistently and transparently establishes the housing land requirement much earlier in the plan preparation process. The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 requires that the National Planning Framework contain "targets for the use of land in different areas of Scotland for housing". To meet this, Annex E of NPF4 includes a Minimum All-Tenure Housing Land Requirement (MATHLR) for each planning authority in Scotland. We are of the view that this, together with a new policy approach, will help to streamline local development planning and free up resources, and can provide greater confidence, with potential benefits for local authorities, communities and businesses, although not all consultation responses agreed with this.

Communities – all options

NPF4 will impact on communities as it will influence the future development of the places where people live. In addition, those community bodies which are preparing Local Place Plans will be required to have regard to the NPF in preparing such plans.

The designation of a proposal as a national development will require enhanced scrutiny in the planning system. Primarily this will require the prospective applicant to undertake pre-application consultation with the community in advance of submitting a planning application.

New policies around community wealth building will have benefits for communities in that priority is given to local economic development which focuses on community and place benefits. However, some consultation responses felt the policy was vague and needed more detail to support businesses and planning authorities.

Public Bodies – all options

The Scottish Government has set a target of net zero emissions by 2045, and must make significant progress towards this by 2030. NPF4 aims to support this target and this has the potential to impact on the decisions, plans and strategies made by infrastructure providers in the areas of flood management, housing, transport and education and historic environment, as examples.

Costs and Benefits

Option 1: No change

The benefits to businesses of this option is that they would continue to work to existing arrangements. There would be no direct additional costs, although national planning policies would become outdated and not reflect current national priorities around e.g. climate change and biodiversity, leading to possible uncertainty and delays around the preparation of development plans and making decisions on planning applications. Such uncertainties would likely have significant impacts on businesses and could lead to greater costs in bringing forward proposals in such an uncertain climate. There is likely to be continuing complexity and resource requirements arising from some existing policies, including the approach to housing in SPP (2014) which has generated extensive debate and litigation.

Option 2: The Government's preferred strategy

At the highest level, NPF4 will provide certainty to developers on the issues that they will need to address when developing their planning proposals. The national planning policies will apply across Scotland and are intended to reduce the need for different policies to be put in place by individual planning authorities. This will provide greater consistency, predictability and certainty for businesses, and other stakeholders, on the issues that must be addressed by specific proposals regardless of where they are located. This should result in cost savings arising as a result of not having to engage with different local authorities on different policies and also free up resources for local authorities to bring forward development plans that primarily focus on the spatial issues within their areas.

Although some consultation responses query these cost savings, we remain of the view that the new system will result in savings to authorities in this regard.

NPF4 sets out a spatial strategy for Scotland to 2045, including six spatial principles that should influence all our plans and decisions. These principles are:

  • Just transition
  • Conserving and recycling assets
  • Local living
  • Compact urban growth
  • Rebalanced development; and
  • Rural revitalisation

They sit alongside the following 3 themes:

  • Sustainable places: where we reduce emissions, restore and better connect biodiversity
  • Liveable places: where we can all live better, healthier lives
  • Productive places: where we have a greener, fairer and more inclusive wellbeing economy

These principles and themes should be the basis for all Local Development Plans and where appropriate should be reflected within Regional Spatial Strategies and Local Place Plans.

The principles have been carried forward from the existing SPP, although they have been adapted and expanded to ensure that they better reflect updated priorities.

There are 33 'subject' policies that set out the issues that should be addressed by development proposals and LDP policies. These policies have been developed collaboratively and are intended to ensure that proposals take into account wider Scottish Government policy objectives and satisfactorily address impacts including on local communities and the environment. The policies can be applied to development management decision-making as well as informing the preparation of local development plans and, in doing so, ensure the spatial principles are reflected in planning decisions and plans. The subject policies introduce a number of new requirements that are likely to have cost implications for businesses. This includes enhanced requirements for reducing carbon emissions, conserving and enhancing biodiversity and contributing to community wealth building. In the interests of proportionality, it is likely that considering many of these requirements can be aligned with existing assessment requirements.

Significant changes are proposed throughout the development management policies in NPF4. These are intended to ensure that future development contributes to the Scottish Government's objectives of creating sustainable, liveable and productive places.

A fuller analysis of the likely benefits and costs of specific policies is provided in the table at Appendix A.

National Developments

The developments which Scottish Ministers propose to designate as national developments are considered to be essential to support the delivery of the spatial strategy in NPF4.

Designation in NPF4 is the mechanism for establishing the need for these developments. National developments will still require to secure planning permission and other relevant consents; however the principle of the development should not be considered again in the consenting process. National developments may need to be consented under regimes such as: the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997; the Electricity Act 1989; the Harbours Act 1964; the Transport and Works (Scotland) Act 2007; and the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984, and will have to comply with all the relevant legislative requirements.

Designation as a national development can make the consenting process more straightforward, but does not guarantee consent will be granted.

Planning applications for national developments are subject to pre-application consultation and opportunity must be provided for a pre-determination hearing. This approach informs both the applicant and communities from an early stage and can help bring about proposals with better outcomes and potentially quicker decisions. Once new regulations (required by the 2019 Planning Act) are in place, planning applications for national developments will also be subject to an assessment of the likely health effects of the proposal, in addition to any other statutorily required assessments.

NPF4 subjects national developments to additional requirements relating to biodiversity enhancement. These requirements are also applied to major developments (as defined in regulations) and those requiring an environmental impact assessment; so it is likely that national developments would be subjected to these requirements regardless of designation. National developments are also required by legislation to consider the lifecycle carbon impact on greenhouse gas emissions targets within the NPF4.

Where the development is subject to consenting under the land use planning system, other additional costs associated with national developments are likely to relate to enhanced scrutiny requirements, namely the above mentioned pre-application consultation and pre-determination hearing requirements. Again, as the national developments specified would otherwise be categorised as major development, these requirements would largely apply anyway (requirements for pre-determination hearings apply to all national developments, but only certain major developments – i.e. those which are a significant departure from the development plan for the area).

There will be some costs to planning authorities in checking that the appropriate documentation has been received and in holding the pre-determination hearing, where this would not otherwise be required. For communities and community groups, there will be marginal costs in preparing for, accessing, and contributing to the enhanced scrutiny events.

Option 3: Non-regulatory options

This option would likely result in a need for the Scottish Government to bring forward changes to specific planning policies as and when the need arises. This will result in piecemeal consultation that is likely to lead to an increase in the costs associated with engaging on specific planning policy issues individually rather than considering all policies together via Option 2.

Scottish Firms Impact Test

The Scottish Government has ensured that careful consideration is given to the impacts that NPF4 will have on businesses so that the framework is informed by a sound understanding of what these impacts are.

A tailored approach to inviting views on the preparation of the BRIA was utilised through the preparation of a questionnaire which was sent to the representative bodies of those industries most directly affected by the proposals in the draft NPF4, for onward transmission to their members. The questionnaire was also sent to key agencies, local authorities and third sector bodies. It asked for information on the current costs of engaging with the planning system and views on the possible impacts of the proposals (both individually and cumulatively) in draft NPF4 on those costs. The questionnaire was issued shortly after the publication of draft NPF4. A copy of the questionnaire and the questions asked can be found at Appendix B.

Given that most small and micro businesses will only occasionally deal with the planning system, it was considered that a questionnaire sent to representative bodies was the best way to engage with this sector. Recipients were encouraged to send on the questionnaire to members and other relevant business contacts. Respondents were offered the opportunity for further engagement with officials, although none took up that opportunity.

Only two responses were received to the questionnaire. The results are summarised below:

  • Resourcing and skills within planning authorities and key agencies needs to be looked at, and the impact of the changes coming from NPF4 on those resources and skills.
  • Scottish Government has recently increased planning fees and is working with the High Level Group on Planning Performance on how full cost recovery (still to be defined) can be achieved. Work on these issues is being informed by research (Skills Development Scotland and RTPI Future Planners project).
  • Some stakeholders were suggesting the Scottish Government develops a skills and resource plan. It was considered this issue would benefit from a cross sectoral approach, including being co-produced and owned by representatives from across the sector. Heads of Planning Scotland and RTPI Scotland have produced a list of additional duties with costs introduced by the 2019 Planning Act. As an ongoing piece of work, the High Level Group (a group of key public sector representatives from across planning) is considering these in detail and making sure that costs and savings have been adequately represented.

The findings of the questionnaire were grouped alongside consultation responses and have fed into the finalisation of this BRIA, as well as feeding into the development of NPF4.

Competition Assessment

We do not believe that the NPF4 will distort or restrict competition between firms or suppliers selling the same or similar products or services as it does not:

  • directly limit the number or range of suppliers;
  • indirectly limit the number or range of suppliers;
  • limit the ability of suppliers to compete; or
  • reduce suppliers' incentives to compete vigorously.

Consumer Assessment

We do not believe the NPF4 will impact on consumers, though there may be indirect benefits where NPF4 supports and facilitates the expansion of infrastructure including digital communications infrastructure; telecommunications infrastructure; all forms of renewable, low-carbon and zero emission technologies for electricity generation and distribution and transmission electricity grid networks and primary sub stations; water and waste water infrastructure; and transport proposals and travel networks.

Test run of business forms

NPF4 will not require the creation or completion of business forms.

Digital Impact Test

NPF4 will be made available online, as was the case with NPF3.

There is no possibility that the measures could be circumvented by digital / online transactions.

It is not considered that having paper and digital copies of the policy will have any adverse impacts on incumbent operators.

Legal Aid Impact Test

The proposals do not create new criminal sanctions or civil penalties. The Scottish Government's Access to Justice / Legal Aid Team has confirmed that it is not expected that these proposals will have a significant impact on use of the Legal Aid fund.

Enforcement, sanctions and monitoring

NPF4 will be implemented by a range of stakeholders, including by planning authorities. It will inform the preparation of local development plans and, as it will be part of the statutory development plan, it will have a statutory role in development management decisions. There are no specific enforcement measures or sanctions related to the NPF. It will also be implemented by the Division for Planning and Environmental Appeals through recommendations resulting from development plan examinations and recommendations/decisions on planning appeals and called-in applications.

NPF4 will be subject to review under the provisions set out in the amended Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

The Scottish Government has committed to working with a range of stakeholders to develop an appropriate monitoring programme for NPF4 that allows us to assess progress and take action where required. Monitoring will be required at both a national and local level and will be proportionate and effective.

An agreed monitoring programme will complement, and potentially combine, wider planning performance work including Planning Performance Frameworks and Royal Town Planning Institute work on monitoring outcomes, as well as reflecting national outcomes set out in the National Performance Framework.

Implementation and Delivery Plan

NPF4 will be accompanied by a delivery programme, which will evolve over the lifetime of NPF4. The delivery programme has an important role in co-ordinating stakeholders to contribute to implementing the framework, but also has a role for NPF4 monitoring. Monitoring the progress of the NPF4 spatial strategy and the success and implementation of its policy aspirations is a key element of delivering the framework. Work will be progressed with the High Level Group to agree an approach to monitoring, with key stakeholders.

The delivery programme aims to secure a cross-government approach to the delivery of NPF4, informed by input from stakeholders, that is unlikely to result in significant cost burdens for businesses.

Summary and recommendation

NPF4 will be a long term plan looking to 2045. It will guide spatial development, set out our national planning policies, designate national developments and highlight regional spatial priorities. This will support a wide range of issues such as climate change; biodiversity, infrastructure; population change; health and wellbeing; good quality homes and green economic recovery.

This BRIA has been informed by consultation with the business sector which has supported the finalisation of NPF4.

NPF4 will be part of the statutory development plan for the first time, providing greater certainty to developers and considerably reducing the number of occasions where they will need to engage with the planning system on the development of policies that affect their businesses.

The national planning policies which will apply across Scotland should also free up resources for local authorities to bring forward local development plans that primarily focus on the spatial issues within their areas. Any policy wording included in the plan should focus on adding value by providing any necessary detail not provided by the NPF or where national policy does not reflect local circumstances and local variation is therefore considered appropriate.

National development status gives greater certainty to developers because it establishes the need for the development, although additional costs may be associated with progressing proposals through the planning system.

Responses to the partial BRIA highlighted that business may be impacted where NPF4 policies introduce requirements for assessments to be undertaken in new work areas. Further, there is doubt that cost savings will outweigh need in local authorities for resource and skills to deal with new work areas. However, where additional requirements are more significant, primarily in relation to climate change related policies, additional guidance and skills development will be undertaken.

Work being taken forward by the High Level Group will be central to informing a cross sectoral approach to skills and resourcing following the adoption of NPF4. The delivery programme aims to secure a cross-government approach to the delivery of NPF4 that is unlikely to result in cost burdens for businesses.

Annex A summarises the costs and benefits of proposals by policy area. Of the proposals broken down by policy area, it is considered that overall, costs are outweighed by the strong justification for proceeding with the intended approach, in particular the contributions to national outcomes.

This, coupled with the fact that the other options presented are not viable, means that the recommendation is to proceed with the preferred strategy.

Declaration and publication

I have read the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment and I am satisfied that, given the available evidence, it represents a fair and reasonable view of the likely costs, benefits and impact of the leading options. I am satisfied that business impact has been and will continue to be assessed with the support of businesses in Scotland.

Signed: Tom Arthur MSP, Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth

Date: 8 November 2022

Scottish Government Contact point:



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