I welcome this annual review of the work of the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division. I was delighted to be appointed recently as Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth. As a constituency MSP, I am already very well aware of how the choices and decisions we make in planning really matter to people everywhere. DPEA has a key part to play in that and we rely on DPEA reporters to make sound decisions about the future of our places. I know that they do that, often tackling some very complex issues, with expertise and professionalism.
Recent times have been tough across every part of our society and have raised some important questions about how we shape a better future. Our planning system, and everyone working within it, has a central role to play in facilitating Scotland's recovery from this pandemic. Most immediately, this has been about keeping planning services moving and making decisions about whether and how future development will happen. I am grateful for the way DPEA has responded and adjusted business practices, and also for the positive response by stakeholders, so that plans and proposals can continue to flow.
Looking forward, what we have learned from living with the pandemic is helping us understand what matters most for the kind of Scotland we want to be. The Scottish Government's preparation of National Planning Framework 4 is happening at exactly the right time, while we are rethinking how resilient places work in a net zero nation that values its people, culture and natural environment. I am looking forward to taking a draft NPF4 into the Scottish Parliament and out to the people of Scotland later this year, so that we can tackle some big issues together.
Our planning reform programme is already reshaping Scotland's planning system and enhancing collaboration over place. I am also looking forward to the start of community-led local place plans later this year, and to progressing the new arrangements for producing the local development plans that will sit alongside NPF4, all strengthening planning's positive influence on our places and communities.
Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth