NPF4 call for ideas: analysis of responses

Independent analysis of responses to the call for ideas to inform the preparation of a new National Planning Framework (NPF), launched in January 2020.

National Developments

The 2019 Act allows the Scottish Ministers to identify National Developments to include in NPF4. This could include single, large-scale projects or several smaller scale developments combined. To ensure their status adds value, National Developments must have some aspect which requires permission or consent before construction begins. Once designated, the question of whether a National Development is needed does not have to be debated in later consenting processes. National Developments aim to provide certainty upfront, for investors, businesses, and also communities.

As part of the Call for Ideas, the Scottish Government invited suggestions for projects to be considered for National Development status in the draft NPF4. A factsheet, invitation and response form were provided on the Scottish Government's Transforming Planning website. The response form asked eight questions about the proposed national development, including how it would contribute to meeting the National Development criteria. These relate to climate change, people, inclusive growth and place.

The Scottish Government is undertaking the analysis of individual national development proposals received through the Call for Ideas. This section is not designed to replicate that analysis but to give an overview of the type of proposals submitted.

Scale and type of responses

A wide range of respondents made national development-related comments or suggestions. However, it was not always clear whether respondents were making or supporting a specific National Development proposal or were making more general suggestions relating to policy or funding priorities.

Responses varied significantly in terms of format and level of detail provided from a very brief description (name or single sentence only), through to detailed, business plan style proposals.

Around half the proposals were submitted with a completed National Development response form. Other responses were made expressly as National Development proposals but not accompanied by a response form and some suggestions were made within wider comments made in response to the Call for Ideas. The Scottish Government is analysing over 200 National Development proposals.

Overview of suggestions

The National Development suggestions made were diverse in type, scale and coverage. For example, they included suggestions for:

  • Sustainable energy related projects, including relating to renewable electricity generation and transmission, hydrogen networks, heat capture and heat networks.
  • A Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage Network.
  • Flood projection or water management schemes or projects.
  • Major transport and facilities-related projects, including in relation to port, harbour, rail, air or road infrastructure.
  • Active travel networks or infrastructure and/or infrastructure to encourage multi-method travel and the decarbonising of transport.
  • Regional or national green or nature networks.
  • National or regional parks or ecoparks.
  • Tourism-related projects, including gateways or specific facilities.
  • A National Digital Fibre Network or improvements to digital infrastructure.
  • Targets for housing, affordable homes or specific residential or mixed-use developments.
  • Area, town or site focused regeneration and transformation projects, including for former major industrial or infrastructure sites.
  • Economic development, innovation or research and development zones, areas or parks.
  • A Space Port or Hub.

Current national developments

NPF3 set out 14 National Developments: Ravenscraig; Dundee Waterfront; Carbon Capture and Storage Network and Thermal Generation; High Voltage Electricity Transmission Network; Pumped Hydroelectric Storage; Central Scotland Green Network; Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership; National Long Distance Cycling and Walking Network; High Speed Rail; Strategic Airport Enhancements; Grangemouth Investment Zone; Freight Handling Capacity on the Forth; Aberdeen Harbour; and National Digital Fibre Network.

A number of the National Development-related comments were effectively a statement of support for the continuation of one or more of these National Developments. This applied particularly to the Central Scotland Green Network, Carbon Capture and Storage and Thermal Generation and High Voltage Electricity Network. There were also references to a number of the other existing National Developments.

Some respondents commented that specific current National Developments, or elements of them, should not continue as National Developments in NPF4.



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