National Planning Framework 4: participation statement

Participation statement outlining how we will conduct the consultation on Scotland’s draft fourth National Planning Framework.

National Planning Framework 4 Participation Statement


In compliance with the requirements under Part 1A of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (the 1997 Act), the Scottish Government has prepared the enclosed Participation Statement.

The Participation Statement for Scotland's fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) contains an account of:

a) When consultation as regards the proposed revised framework is likely to take place;
b) With whom Ministers intend to consult;
c) The steps to be taken to involve the public at large in the consultation; and
d) The likely form of the review.

We are committed to encouraging interest and wide public involvement in the consultation on Draft NPF4 and want to engage with a broad range of stakeholders in the community, public, voluntary and private sectors.

Next Steps

We will be seeking responses to the consultation on Draft NPF4 by the closing date confirmed on the laying of Draft NPF4. We will encourage responses using the Scottish Government's Citizen Space consultation portal, though consultees may also respond by e-mail to All responses will be considered by the Scottish Government, and where agreed, will be published. An independent report analysing the responses will be published as soon as possible after the consultation closes.

As set out in section 3CA(6) of the 1997 Act, a summary of representations received as part of the consultation will form part of an explanatory document to be laid before Parliament as part of the final adoption process for NPF4.

Participation Statement

1. Timing of the consultation

Consultation on the proposed revised framework is likely to take place from autumn 2021. The Scottish Government plans to lay the revised framework (Draft NPF4) in the Scottish Parliament in autumn 2021. The formal consultation on the Draft NPF4 will begin on the same day and the consultation will remain open during the period for Parliamentary scrutiny of the Draft NPF4.

In terms of section 3CA of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (the 1997 Act) the period of Parliamentary scrutiny of Draft NPF4 is a period of up to 120 days of the date that it is laid before Parliament. The closing date for responses to the consultation will align with that requirement and extend to 120 days. The date will be confirmed on laying of Draft NPF4.

2. Consultees

We are aware of the importance of engaging as widely as possible on the Draft NPF4. We will therefore consult the public at large and in line with the requirement set out in section 3AB(4)(4) of the 1997 Act, the Scottish Government will also consult:

i. Planning authorities;
ii. Key agencies (within the meaning of section 23D of the 1997 Act[1]);
iii. The Committee on Climate Change established under section 32 of the Climate Change Act 2008); and
iv. Such persons or bodies who the Scottish Ministers consider have a role in the delivery of the six outcomes[2] mentioned in section 3A(3A) of the 1997 Act.

We will consult a broad range of bodies covering the following areas by raising awareness and sending direct links to supporting material to encourage participation in the consultation:

  • Amenity, community and environmental organisations
  • Business (and representative bodies)
  • Other public bodies (and officers groups)
  • Academic, professional and other bodies
  • Equalities organisations.

3. Consulting the Public at Large

The past 18 months has changed how we live and work and our opportunities for engaging with each other have altered. With the ongoing COVID limitations and reduced ways to meet in person, much activity has moved online and created different and creative opportunities to get involved.

It is online where we will focus our attention, offering a range of options for participating in the Draft NPF4 consultation. We will also provide support materials for those wanting to host their own workshop or discussion- these will all be accessed at

We will undertake the following steps to involve the public at large in the consultation on Draft NPF4:

1. Host a series of online events that will focus on regional and thematic priorities.

2. Publish a series of consultation questions to focus engagement and feedback.

3. Prepare and promote a range of supporting material to be made available online at

4. Make available a Community Grant Scheme to support communities to engage locally.

5. Share details of the online events, Grant Scheme and support materials with the Improvement Service plus other community-focussed bodies, to support community councils and other community groups to respond to the consultation.

We will publish a range of information including the Draft NPF4 and supporting material at

3.1 Online events

We will provide opportunities for people to be informed about the Government's proposals and ask questions about Draft NPF4. This will be through a series of geographically focussed and thematic online events.

These online events will give participants an opportunity to hear about the key elements of Draft NPF4, including national developments, and will encourage the submission of comments to the formal consultation.

Details of the events will be available through, and the Scottish Government's social media channels once the Draft NPF4 is laid in Parliament.

3.2 Community Grant Scheme

We will support communities to engage locally through a small grants scheme to assist them in considering their responses to Draft NPF4. Details of the scheme will be available at The scheme will be advertised through the Government's social media channels when Draft NPF4 is laid in Parliament.

3.3 Support materials

A range of materials will be available to help people to participate. These will be available online at and will include general supporting material that sets out what the NPF is, key dates, process and how to get involved; a summary of the key issues; and a report on National Developments.

We will encourage bodies such as Development Trust Association Scotland, PAS, Planning Democracy, Scotland Town's Partnership, Scottish Communities Alliance, Scottish Community Development Centre, SURF and local authority Third Sector Interfaces to forward information on events, the Grant Scheme and support materials to their networks of community groups.

3.4 Community Councils

Community Councils have a formal role in the planning system. They are consulted when development plans are being prepared, during pre-application consultation and when a planning application has been submitted.

Whilst the Scottish Government does not hold a list of all community council contacts across Scotland, the Improvement Service, through its support for both and the Community Council Liaison Officer network, can act as a link to Scotland's community councils. We will forward details of the online events, Grant Scheme and support materials to the Improvement Service and ask them to share.

4. Likely form of the review

The responses submitted to the consultation will be reviewed in finalising NPF4 and a report will be prepared following the close of the consultation period. The report will include a summary of the online events and a consideration of the issues raised in responses.



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