Publication - Research and analysis

Adoption of Scottish planning policy in local development plans: research

Published: 9 Oct 2019

Research that looks at how effective Scottish planning policy has been in influencing local development planning and decision making.

90 page PDF

1.5 MB

90 page PDF

1.5 MB

Contents
Adoption of Scottish planning policy in local development plans: research
4. Stage 2 - Consultation

90 page PDF

1.5 MB

4. Stage 2 - Consultation

4.1 Introduction

4.1.1 Stage 2 involved defining a set of six questions to appear on an online questionnaire, designed to build upon the information gathered through the Stage 1 desk-based exercise:

  • 1. Which SPP policies work well for plan making purposes?
  • 2. Which SPP policies work well for Development Management purposes?
  • 3. Do you find any SPP policies unclear or confusing?
  • 4. Do you find any SPP policies difficult to apply or implement?
  • 5. What policies need the most local flexibility?
  • 6. What do you see as the main issues for the Scottish Government to consider when developing future national policies?

4.1.2 Invitations to complete the questionnaire were sent by the Scottish Government to Planning Authorities and other stakeholders with experience of the implementation of SPP policies into Development Plans and an understanding of how they influence planning decision making. Recommendations on possible priority areas for change were also sought to be considered as part of the review of the SPP.

4.1.3 The survey gathered 69 online responses, and a further 4 written submissions. Of the 69 received 20 were not fully completed and eight respondents did not record the organisation they were answering on behalf of. The list of respondents is listed below:

Sector No. of Responses
Local Planning Authorities
Aberdeen City Council 1
Aberdeenshire Council 1
Angus Council 1
Argyll & Bute Council 1
City of Edinburgh Council 1
Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar 2
Dundee City Council 2
East Ayrshire Council 4
East Dunbartonshire 1
East Lothian Council 1
Falkirk Council 1
Fife Council 3
Glasgow City Council 6
Highland Council 1
Moray Council 1
North Ayrshire Council 1
Perth & Kinross Council 2
Renfrewshire Council 1
South Lanarkshire Council 1
Stirling Council 1
West Dunbartonshire Council 1
West Lothian Council 4
Strategic Development Planning Authorities
Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority 2
Glasgow and the Clyde Valley Strategic Development Planning Authority (Clydeplan) 2
National Agencies
Central Scotland Green Network 2
Historic Environment Scotland 1
Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) 3
Scottish Environment Protection Agency 1
Scottish Natural Heritage 1
sportscotland 1
Private Companies/Organisations
Cornerstone (Telefonica (O2) and Vodafone) 1
Gladman Developments Ltd 2
Homes for Scotland 1
Hutchison 3G 1
Innogy Renewables UK Ltd 1
Mineral Products Association Scotland 1
Mobile Broadband Network Limited 1
Scottish Power Renewables 2
Charities
National Trust for Scotland 1
Social Farms and Gardens 1
Other
Scottish Planning Consultants Forum 2
Unknown 8

4.1.4 A summary of the comments received during Stage 2 is set out below.

Chart showing a summary of the comments received during Stage 2

4.2 Analysis of Question 1

Which SPP policies work well for plan making purposes?

63 respondents

Figure 1: Question 1 Responses

Figure 1: Question 1 Responses

Placemaking 35% 22
No Comment 35% 22
Promoting Town Centres 33% 21
Sustainability 29% 18
Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure 24% 15
Managing Flood Risk and Drainage 22% 14
Valuing the Natural Environment 21% 13
Promoting Sustainable Transport & Active Travel 21% 13
Valuing the Historic Environment 19% 12
Promoting Rural Development 19% 12
Delivering Heat and Electricity 17% 11
Supporting Business and Employment 17% 11
Enabling Delivery of New Homes 16% 10
Planning for Zero Waste 13% 8
Supporting Digital Connectivity 13% 8
Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources 8% 5
Supporting Aquaculture 8% 5

Results

4.2.1 Figure 1 identifies 'Placemaking', 'Promoting Town Centres' and 'Sustainability' as the most commonly selected SPP policies that work well for plan making purposes. Of the 63 responses to this question they were selected 22, 21 and 18 times respectively. Various reasons were given for this such as providing clear strategic direction and aspirations that enable planning services the opportunity to customise them in a local context. More detailed justification provided by respondents is set out below.

4.2.2 The least common SPP policies selected as working well for plan making purposes were 'Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources' and 'Supporting Aquaculture', each selected 5 times.

General Feedback

4.2.3 It was noted that the subject policies work well and there is no need for these to be duplicated over every Development Plan in Scotland, as is current practice. It was considered that a national set of policies would significantly reduce resource input to plan preparation.

4.2.4 In addition, it was considered that a more standardised approach will enable planning authorities to use accepted best practice in a resource efficient manner rather than each individual authority re-inventing its own approach. This should then lead to greater consistency in the Scottish planning system and develop public confidence in it.

4.2.5 The introduction of clear statements within SPP, setting out what Local Development Plans must or should do, was considered to work well for plan making purposes. This approach was noted as particularly important should SPP and NPF merge and become part of the Development Plan. Similarly, a number of respondents noted that the most useful SPP policies are those where there is certainty on the policy guidance. The following examples were given:

  • Flood Risk Framework
  • 'Town Centre First' Principle
  • National maximum parking standards

4.2.6 It was considered useful to have the policy principles set out at the start and the discussion in the delivery section. Listing of key documents was also noted as very helpful in directing interested parties to further information sources which can also be referenced in decision making.

4.2.7 One respondent stated that the SPP policies recognise the requirement for sufficient flexibility to allow planning authorities to provide a local or regional response to achieving national objectives taking local circumstance into account. They went on to say that this flexibility must however be tempered by the opportunity for different interpretation of the wording or intent of the guidance provided by the SPP. Similarly, one respondent stated that a standardised approach means that local flexibility should be curtailed unless it is justified for local and exceptional reasons to encourage more consistency. The proposed change to the planning system, SPP becoming part of the Development Plan, was noted as having a fundamental role to ensure that the planning system across Scotland is applied in a consistent manner and is understood by all partners in the development process as well as the public.

4.2.8 A number of policy areas (Sustainability, Promoting Town Centres, Promoting Rural Development, Supporting Business and Employment, Promoting Sustainable Transport & Active Travel, Supporting Digital Connectivity) were noted as most significant in plan-making because they oblige the plan writer to consider the main sustainability elements when writing the plan and designating land for specific land use.

4.2.9 It was noted that it is vital that plans, policy and designations are written in consideration of the wider social and economic implications and how to make that policy/designation sustainable now and for the future e.g. transport network and digital connectivity - modern connectivity is vital for sustainability in the modern world with society depending upon it more and more.

4.2.10 SPP was criticised by some respondents for being too general and out of date. The focus on housing land figures causes confusion and does not provide clear guidance.

Policy Specific Feedback

Sustainability

4.2.11 29% of respondents selected the 'Sustainability' policy as working well for plan making purposes by helping to set the context and links between the subject policies. The sentence "The aim is to create the right development in the right place. It is not to allow development at any cost." was noted as particularly helpful and should be retained as it is a reminder of the overarching themes. In addition, it was noted that the overarching themes of sustainability and placemaking should be retained as they are; and these should probably be considered front and centre with climate change.

4.2.12 The presumption in favour of sustainable development should be at the forefront of the plan making process. It was considered that the policy itself is clear and easily understood due to the guiding principles set out in paragraph 29. These provide a clear context for plan makers to both form Development Plan policy and against which to assess proposals.

4.2.13 The sustainability principle was also noted as a proportionate mechanism to allow proposals not ostensibly in compliance with the Development Plan to be balanced against wider planning objectives; however, it was considered that there are consistency issues with how it is applied in practice, including through appeal decisions.

Placemaking

4.2.14 'Placemaking' was the most commonly selected policy with regards to working well for plan making purposes, selected by 35% of respondents. Of the feedback given, Placemaking was noted as the glue that holds it all together and provides clear guidance about ensuring the right development in the right places. Giving high level support to placemaking in national policy was noted as important so that it can be supported in the plan making process.

4.2.15 The 'Placemaking' policy sets high level principles to guide LDPs but it was considered that enough flexibility was provided to ensure plans are tailored to local circumstances. It was noted that the policy demonstrates a high-level commitment to making better places through a design-led, holistic approach that has filtered through to LDPs and supplementary guidance.

4.2.16 One planning authority stated that the placemaking policy strongly influenced their LDP, as they sought to push design to the fore, and introduced a new design policy that requires development to be designed to a high quality demonstrating the six qualities of successful place. SPP policy wording was used to make the council's expectations clear.

4.2.17 One weakness of the placemaking policy is that it is often usurped by other priorities. SPP should therefore be more prescriptive to ensure that placemaking principles are carried through to Development Management.

Promoting Town Centres

4.2.18 33% of respondents selected 'Promoting Town Centres' with regards to working well for plan making purposes. It was considered that 'Promoting Town Centres' works as a policy as it is clear in what it is trying to achieve and can be measured. The 'town centre first principle' was noted as providing clarity to the plan making process. With regards to retail development, paragraphs 61-69 were considered essential in clearly setting out how LDP policies should manage and implement a town centre first approach. It works very well in plan preparation as it gives a clear and detailed statement of Scottish Government's expectations and no further interpretation was required. The clear setting out how a government principle should be implemented at a local level was considered to have worked particularly well. Questions were raised about how the impact of the policy is measured, retail impact assessments are useful for DM purposes.

Promoting Rural Development

4.2.19 19% of respondents selected the 'Promoting Rural Development' policy with regards to working well for plan making purposes. It was considered that the 'Promoting Rural Development' policy is sufficient to allow local flexibility and Development Plans can pick up a local interpretation of this as appropriate. It was noted that the policy clearly sets out how LDPs should manage rural development and paragraphs 76 and 81 are very useful, and the distinction drawn between pressured and remote areas in this section is sensible.

Supporting Business and Employment

4.2.20 17% of respondents selected the 'Supporting Business and Employment' policy with regards to working well for plan making purposes. It was noted that the principles set out within the 'Supporting Business and Employment' policy are clear. The delivery section was also considered clear and was helpful in setting out the detailed requirements particularly the alignment with specific policy documents and how local authorities should allocate business land.

Enabling Delivery of New Homes

4.2.21 16% of respondents selected the 'Enabling Delivery of New Homes' policy with regards to working well for plan making purposes. The policy was considered essential in calculating housing land supply figures. It was noted that the intention of paragraphs 113 - 122 are explicitly clear in seeking to ensure the delivery of new homes will be achieved. Similarly, the requirement for Development Plans to identify a generous supply of land for each housing market area to achieve the housing land requirement and maintain at least a 5-year supply of effective housing land at all times was considered crucial.

4.2.22 The requirements for specialist housing provision are clearly stated and considered easy to translate these into the LDP. In addition, the recognition that the National Parks need not meet the entirety of their housing requirement was considered sensible. It was also noted that more could be done to encourage sustainable mixed communities with a range of housing types.

Valuing the Historic Environment

4.2.23 19% of respondents selected the 'Valuing the Historic Environment' policy with regards to working well for plan making purposes. The 'Valuing the Historic Environment' policies provide a steer to Planning Authorities on the considerations which should be included within the policies for the statutory Development Plan and areas such as Article 4 Directions are clear and work well at this level. The policy was considered sufficiently clear to transpose to work in the local context and it links well with guidance prepared by key agencies.

Delivering Heat and Electricity

4.2.24 17% of respondents selected the 'Delivering Heat and Electricity' policy with regards to working well for plan making purposes. It was noted that clear direction is given (paragraph 154) to the role planning must play in supporting the delivery of the renewable energy infrastructure Scotland needs to meet the low carbon ambitions. The identification of planning as a key tool is considered useful and reiterates the importance of delivering low carbon ambitions and targets through the planning system, and Development Plans in particular.

4.2.25 For plan making purposes, the policy delivers clear ambitions regarding transforming Scotland to a Low Carbon Place, for example though energy provision and setting out the locations where developments are likely to be acceptable. Additionally, the subsection relating to Heat (paragraphs 158 to 160 inclusive) provides clarity for plan makers regarding the integration of heat in Development Plans, the expectation for Development Plans to appropriately consider where heat networks should be located, and the expectation that sites will be designed to enable district heating pipe run networks to be safeguarded for later connection. These policy paragraphs are supportive and directive, without being overly restrictive or recognising that local flexibility is required.

4.2.26 Moving forward however, it was considered that these ambitions and targets must be updated to reflect the Climate Emergency declared by Scottish Government through the new energy policy context and wider aspects of low carbon place.

Planning for Zero Waste

4.2.27 13% of respondents selected the 'Zero Waste' policy with regards to working well for plan making purposes. It was considered that the 'Planning for Zero Waste' policy works well and that the majority of Local Development Plans identify waste management facilities on their plan or within policy text and have policies which accord with the direction and guidance contained in SPP (most notably paragraphs 184 and 186).

Valuing the Natural Environment

4.2.28 21% of respondents selected the 'Valuing the Natural Environment' policy with regards to working well for plan making purposes. The policy was considered helpful in setting out the various specific points that LDPs must address and the policy is sufficiently clear to transpose to work in the local context.

4.2.29 One respondent felt SPP should provide advice about how to promote food growing in the planning process.

Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure

4.2.30 24% of respondents selected the 'Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure' policy with regards to working well for plan making purposes. It was considered that SPP sets out a relatively clear approach to the importance of, and protection for, open space and green networks/infrastructure generally. It was also considered helpful in setting out the various specific points that LDPs must address.

4.2.31 With regards to outdoor sports facilities, paragraph 226 was noted as particularly helpful in setting out how outdoor sports facilities should be safeguarded and was useful in forming local Development Plan policy. However, it was noted that further explanation in this area would be beneficial e.g. where an outdoor sports facility may no longer be required for that specific purpose, it may still have an important green infrastructure role that means it is worthy of retention as open space.

4.2.32 The inclusion of community growing spaces and allotment provision in the definition of green infrastructure was welcomed (paragraph 227 and 229) stating plans should encourage opportunities for community growing. However, it was considered that this is not translating into LDP policy and more could be done to bring these provisions into practice.

Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources

4.2.33 8% of respondents selected 'Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources' with regards to working well for plan making purposes. No comments were received regarding this policy.

Supporting Aquaculture

4.2.34 8% of respondents selected 'Supporting Aquaculture' with regards to working well for plan making purposes. No comments were received regarding this policy.

Managing Flood Risk and Drainage

4.2.35 21% of respondents selected the 'Managing Flood Risk and Drainage' policy with regards to working well for plan making purposes. The risk framework in Paragraph 263 was noted as particularly helpful in setting out the specifics of flood risk and is well understood and accepted by all stakeholders involved in land use planning and flood risk.

4.2.36 The policy principles set out in paras 255 to 257 were also considered very helpful and set a useful policy framework for Development Plans. However, it was noted that they do not translate well into the sections that follow on Development Planning and Development Management, and therefore do not always translate into plan making.

Promoting Sustainable Transport & Active Travel

4.2.37 21% of respondents selected the 'Promoting Sustainable Transport & Active Travel' policy with regards to working well for plan making purposes. It was considered helpful in setting out principles for transport policies and also the specifics for what policies should contain.

Supporting Digital Connectivity

4.2.38 13% of respondents selected the 'Supporting Digital Connectivity' policy with regards to working well for plan making purposes. The feedback gathered noted that the policy clearly set out criteria that LDPs should contain and helped form a Local Development Plan policy.

4.3 Analysis of Question 2

Which SPP policies work well for Development Management purposes?

60 respondents

Figure 2: Question 2 Responses

Figure 2: Question 2 Responses

No Comment 42% 25
Promoting Town Centres 23% 14
Delivering Heat and Electricity 23% 14
Sustainability 18% 11
Placemaking 18% 11
Valuing the Historic Environment 18% 11
Valuing the Natural Environment 17% 10
Managing Flood Risk and Drainage 15% 9
Promoting Rural Development 13% 8
Supporting Business and Employment 13% 8
Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure 13% 8
Promoting Sustainable Transport and Active Travel 12% 7
Enabling Delivery of New Homes 10% 6
Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources 10% 6
Supporting Aquaculture 10% 6
Supporting Digital Connectivity 10% 6
Planning for Zero Waste 8% 5

Results

4.3.1 Figure 2 identifies 'Promoting Town Centres' and 'Delivering Heat and Electricity' as the most commonly selected SPP policies that work well for Development Management purposes. Of the 60 responses to this question they were each selected 14 times. Various reasons were given for this such as providing a good sequential approach to development with regards to 'Promoting Town Centres' and providing a useful checklist for assessing wind farms with regards to 'Delivering Heat and Electricity'. More detailed justification provided by respondents is set out below.

4.3.2 The least common SPP policy to be selected as to working well for Development Management purposes was 'Planning for Zero Waste', selected 5 times.

General Feedback

4.3.3 It was noted that the policy principles throughout SPP coupled with the more detailed guidance and sign posting to relevant documents in the subject policies section is particularly useful in discussions with applicants and developers and adds weight to council policies on individual issues.

4.3.4 Most of the sections of SPP, when replicated into LDP's, help with Development Management processes as it gives specific criteria for the assessment of planning applications. SPP on its own is considered too vague in certain sections to allow an assessment of a planning application and it was noted that SPP is very rarely reflected in planning application decisions as it is not part of the statutory Development Plan.

4.3.5 It was considered that in general the policies that guide Development Management are clear and strike the right balance between the need for development and the need to protect and enhance the environment. It was noted that policies and their supporting text provide an overarching direction for localised Development Management policies and guidance.

4.3.6 In contrast the current SPP is considered a step backwards from the more detailed guidance and advice that used to be outlined in the old NPPG's and SPP's planners used to use without being too restrictive at local level.

4.3.7 In addition, it was noted that the SPP policies are good but the way that they get interpreted and applied can be messy - this is the area where current planning policy tends to fall down. It was noted that SPP (and indeed LDP) policy commitments are being set aside to accommodate other priorities for example, a playing down of greenspace/green infrastructure requirements to ensure investment in affordable housing.

4.3.8 Moving forward, it is considered that once SPP is incorporated in the new NPF and made part of the Development Plan, it will need to work more effectively and decisively for Development Management purposes. Assuming the bulk of its content will be directly applicable to local decisions, it should be clear and unambiguous and not cluttered with narrative text of the type that has undermined the true policy content of some LDPs and SDPs.

4.3.9 The following points were raised:

  • Where a policy is not intended to be directly applicable or is intended to be altered or elaborated on in the LDP, this should be clearly demarked.
  • Separate sections on directly applicable policies and policies to inform detailed LDP policies would help.
  • Structure and direction will need to be carefully thought through to ensure the two tiers of the future Development Plan – NPF/SPP and LDP work with each other and not against each other.
  • SPP when amalgamated with NPF, has a fundamental role to ensure that the plan system across Scotland is applied in a consistent manner and is understood by all partners in the development process as well as the public.
  • A revised SPP needs to deliver more detailed guidance to deliver a consistent approach across Scotland for these topics.

Policy Specific Feedback

Sustainability

4.3.10 18% of respondents selected 'Sustainability' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. It was noted that the policy is useful for setting out the Scottish Government's overarching policy position for the whole of Scotland, particularly in respect of its sustainable development.

4.3.11 Paragraphs 32-35 were noted as valuable in setting out how the presumption in favour of sustainable development should be considered in Development Management. The paragraphs work well for Development Management purposes and set out the requirement in the event the Development Plan is considered out-of-date due to the shortfall in the five-year supply of effective housing land. However, implementation of this, in practice was considered inconsistent and sometimes ignored. Despite an identified shortfall in the five-year supply of effective housing land, paragraphs 32-35, and sustainability guiding principles, are very often not given sufficient weight in the Development Management process where the balance should be tilted in favour of development that contributes towards sustainable development. Despite the principles forming the basis to work well, how they are implemented in the Development Management process is a limiting factor.

4.3.12 The emphasis on enabling high quality development, making efficient use of land and protecting and enhancing natural and cultural resources is also welcomed in the context of Development Management, together with Paragraph 28 which states "the aim is to achieve the right development in the right place; it is not to allow development at any cost". Paragraph 29 was also noted as being very helpful in making connections with other agendas such as health, climate change, inequalities, education etc. It was suggested that the bullet point on climate change was moved up the list given the current climate change emergency.

Placemaking

4.3.13 18% of respondents selected 'Placemaking' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. The policy was described as clear and precise in purpose and articulation. The overarching policies in paras 38 to 40 were noted as being very helpful, making it clear the SPP must be fully considered when planning new places and considering individual applications. Paragraph 56 was also considered helpful in stating that design is a material consideration. The policies listed under paragraphs 49-52 provide green belt guidance that should be reflected in Local Development Plans and although SPP identifies that LDP policies should show the detailed green belt boundary (paragraph 51), in practice it was noted that boundaries are not always detailed.

Promoting Town Centres

4.3.14 23% of respondents selected 'Promoting Town Centres' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. 'Promoting Town Centres' was noted as one of the most challenged areas of Development Management so it is useful to have clear direction and the specific requirements set out in the SPP to further support planning decisions.

4.3.15 The 'Promoting Town Centres' policy was noted as working well for Development Management as it provides a reasonable context for decision making. The sequential test was noted as useful in addition to the sound criteria provided in paragraphs 70 – 73 (73 in particular).

Promoting Rural Development

4.3.16 13% of respondents selected 'Promoting Rural Development' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. It was noted as clear and precise in purpose and articulation, yet sufficiently vague to allow for application of appropriate statements for individual applications.

Supporting Business and Employment

4.3.17 13% of respondents selected 'Supporting Business and Employment' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. It was noted as clear and precise in purpose and articulation and generally non-contentious. In addition, it was noted that it is vital that decisions are made with consideration of the wider social and economic implications.

Enabling Delivery of New Homes

4.3.18 10% of respondents selected 'Enabling Delivery of New Homes' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. It was noted that if implemented appropriately the policy can work well in the Development Management process (in combination with the other relevant parts of SPP) to ensure the delivery of new homes. However, it was also noted by some respondents that few Local Authorities have recognised or accept that there is a shortfall in the 5-year effective housing land supply when a potential shortfall has been identified by an applicant or Scottish Government appointed Reporter via an appeal decision. This leads to the relevant parts of SPP not being utilised properly in the Development Management process.

Valuing the Historic Environment

4.3.19 18% of respondents selected 'Valuing the Historic Environment' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. It was noted that it sets out a useful framework for balancing the importance of conservation of historic buildings and locations, with the need to promote economic development and to allow change where necessary. In contrast, it was considered to be of limited benefit, as largely overtaken by Historic Environment Scotland documents.

4.3.20 Historic Environment Scotland provided feedback on this policy area. The following points were submitted:

  • Pleased with the inclusion of HES 'Managing Change' guidance as a key document within the SPP.
  • Paragraph 141 is well worded and ties together a building and its setting.
  • Paragraph 142 on enabling development is concise and useful. It could be enhanced by further thinking about the level of detail in the policy and definition of enabling development. HES would like to see more consideration of enabling development as a positive option, but subject to clearer conditions.
  • Paragraph 145 on scheduled monuments, 147 on World Heritage Sites and 149 on Battlefields are all clear and useful – especially 145 as the exceptional circumstances test is usually well-understood and implemented.

Delivering Heat and Electricity

4.3.21 23% of respondents selected 'Delivering Heat and Electricity' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. The policy works well as it is clear and precise in purpose and articulation, there is a clear spatial hierarchy to follow and provides a comprehensive list of criteria to consider.

4.3.22 It was noted that the policies set out in 'A Low Carbon Place' are clear and set out the locations where developments are likely to be acceptable, as well as the relevant considerations to be taken into account by the decision-maker (SPP paragraph 169). It was considered that this section needs to be strengthened given the urgent climate change imperative and the need to continue to decarbonise the electricity, heat and transport sectors. Future iterations of planning policy, including the new combined NPF and SPP, must ensure policies are in place which clearly facilitate the development of new and repowered onshore wind sites, incorporating the latest, most efficient technologies. Supportive policies for new, stand alone and co-located solar and battery storage projects could also help with climate change goals.

4.3.23 With regards to windfarms, paragraph 169 contains a useful checklist of relevant considerations. The provision of strategic rather than local guidance on the appropriate siting of onshore wind was welcomed, in support of ensuring a better coordinated approach between LPAs. Confirmation within SPP that areas identified for windfarm development should be considered suitable in perpetuity and that this is a material consideration in planning was welcomed and considered this clarity should be retained within future iterations of the SPP. This was noted as especially important in light of the recently published Scottish Energy Strategy and Onshore Wind Policy Statement.

4.3.24 With regards to spatial framework, within Group 2 (Areas of Significant Protection) the position on wild land and the conflict between this policy and the 'Valuing the Natural Environment' policy which states that wild land has little capacity to deal with new development should be clarified. The wording within Group 2 could be improved, terminology like 'significantly' and 'substantially' is too loose. Others argued that within Group 3 (Areas with potential for wind farm development) there should be a stronger presumption in favour of development and significant landscape change should be accepted in these areas.

4.3.25 The scope of Landscape Capacity Studies should be fully addressed within this policy. It should be noted that these high level studies are not a substitute for detailed and site-specific landscape and visual impact assessments. Preferably, these should be replaced by Landscape Sensitivity Studies which are restricted to the sensitivity of the landscape and do not attempt to arbitrarily advise on the likely acceptable capacity of an area to different scales of onshore wind development. One respondent chose this policy due to the success in respect of electricity but felt let down by the guidance surrounding heat.

Planning for Zero Waste

4.3.26 8% of respondents selected 'Planning for Zero Waste' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. It was noted that it was helpful having buffer distances set out here.

4.3.27 Paragraph 188 is clear with regard to authorities determining where Waste uses are allocated to appropriate land. This paragraph could be improved if authorities are directed to also consider whether issues could arise due to locating the proposed waste facility adjacent to non-compatible uses.

4.3.28 Paragraph 190 is also clear about the duties on new development to include provision for waste separation and collection which has enabled recycling and waste collection to become part of design of new developments and supported the delivery of the Waste (Scotland) Regulations and the Zero Waste Plan and Circular Economy ambitions.

Valuing the Natural Environment

4.3.29 17% of respondents selected 'Valuing the Natural Environment' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. The policy was described as clear and precise in purpose and articulation. Paragraph 203 in particular was noted as offering clear direction on when something isn't appropriate to refuse.

Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure

4.3.30 13% of respondents selected 'Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. Paragraph 226 in particular provides important guidance for protecting outdoor sports facilities as it is clearly worded and unambiguous.

4.3.31 Paragraph 232 regarding the design of green infrastructure in DM was described as very helpful. The only criticism drawn from the DM section was the lack of support for community growing spaces. It was also suggested that the Green Belt policy should identify telecoms infrastructure as 'not inappropriate in the Green Belt'.

Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources

4.3.32 10% of respondents selected 'Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. No specific comments were made as to why the policy was selected.

Supporting Aquaculture

4.3.33 10% of respondents selected 'Supporting Aquaculture' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. No specific comments were made as to why the policy was selected.

Managing Flood Risk and Drainage

4.3.34 15% of respondents selected 'Managing Flood Risk and Drainage' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes.

4.3.35 In addition to the risk framework the following concepts were identified as most helpful within the Development Management sphere: -

  • Avoiding increasing risk elsewhere, as well as to the proposed development.
  • Piecemeal reduction of functional floodplain and cumulative effects of reducing storage capacity.
  • Have regard to probability of flooding from all sources.
  • The calculated probability of flooding should be regarded as a best estimate and not a precise forecast.
  • Developers should take into account flood risk and the ability of future occupiers to insure development before committing themselves to a site or project.
  • Emphasis on occupiers having ultimate responsibility for safeguarding their property.
  • All bullet points of hazards and considerations as stated in para 264

4.3.36 Whilst the section was described as useful, it was also noted by one respondent that it largely duplicates policy and other guidance. The policy principles are very helpful but there is difficulty in translating them well into decision making in Development Management.

Promoting Sustainable Transport & Active Travel

4.3.37 12% of respondents selected 'Promoting Sustainable Transport & Active Travel' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. It was noted as largely duplicating policy and other guidance.

Supporting Digital Connectivity

4.3.38 10% of respondents selected 'Supporting Digital Connectivity' with regards to working well for Development Management purposes. It was noted that this area of SPP works well for Development Management as it provides a reasonable context for decision making. The intent is clear and sufficiently broad to allow for application of appropriate statements for individual applications.

4.3.39 It was noted that when considering a proposal for a piece of mobile telecommunications infrastructure most weight is often given to the environmental/visual aspects that piece of infrastructure has with insufficient weight attached to the significant material social and economic benefits that proposal will bring to local residents, visitors and businesses. Appropriate balance is required with regards to consideration of the constraints and limitations of mobile infrastructure in terms of siting and design requirements and this should be reflected in policy for Development Management purposes. Paragraph 300 was noted as useful as it states that radiofrequency radiation is not a material consideration.

4.4 Analysis of Question 3

Do you find any SPP policies unclear or confusing?

57 respondents

Figure 3: Question 3 Responses

Figure 3: Question 3 Responses

Enabling Delivery of New Homes 32% 18
No Comment 30% 17
Delivering Heat and Electricity 26% 15
Placemaking 21% 12
Sustainability 19% 11
Valuing the Natural Environment 18% 10
Valuing the Historic Environment 14% 8
Planning for Zero Waste 12% 7
Managing Flood Risk and Drainage 12% 7
Promoting Sustainable Transport and Active Travel 12% 7
Promoting Town Centres 11% 6
Promoting Rural Development 11% 6
Supporting Business and Employment 9% 5
Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure 7% 4
Supporting Aquaculture 7% 4
Supporting Digital Connectivity 7% 4
Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources 5% 3

Results

4.4.1 Figure 3 identifies 'Enabling Delivery of New Homes' 'Delivering Heat and Electricity' and 'Placemaking' as the most commonly selected SPP policies that are deemed to be confusing or unclear. Of the 57 responses to this question they were selected 18, 15 and 12 times respectively. Various reasons were given for this such as no set way to calculate a 5-year land supply with regards to 'Enabling Delivery of New Homes' and the difficulty involved with establishing a heat network with regards to 'Delivering Heat and Electricity'. More detailed justification provided by respondents is set out below.

4.4.2 The least common SPP policy to be selected as unclear or confusing was 'Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources', selected 3 times.

General Feedback

4.4.3 Several responses noted that throughout SPP it is difficult to decipher what text is policy, guidance and principles. The way in which it is written is ambiguous and with a lack of clarity. The need for local flexibility is acknowledged, but this can still be achieved while providing clear guidance. It is noted that subject matter loses emphasis and causes confusion due to the lack of clear structure which can lead to variation in policy approaches across Scotland and reduces certainty for developers and communities on how proposals for development will be considered.

4.4.4 The interplay between policy priorities was cited as an area where confusion occurs. The increasing alignment of spatial and community planning is welcome but may add to this confusion. This could lead to some LDP (and SPP) priorities being effectively downgraded. There is also the argument concerning competing interests and how economic targets are affected by public and private interests.

4.4.5 One response noted that the SPP catered better for urban and mainland settlements and was more difficult to apply in rural areas. A countering response noted that SPP does not go far enough at tackling challenges in an urban context. This problem could also be exacerbated by the potential move to 10-year plans.

4.4.6 Some respondents welcomed the idea of NPF 4 incorporating SPP to enhance its status in the statutory Development Plan. The current planning system in Scotland is best categorised by its diversity and lack of standardisation of a policy framework or appraisal process. A more standardised approach to the Scottish planning system could develop public confidence.

Policy Specific Feedback

Sustainability

4.4.7 19% of respondents selected 'Sustainability' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. The main complaint is that sustainability is a hard term to define and it can be argued that a development is sustainable in differing ways from another. Some felt that it sets a low bar and most proposals can be determined to be sustainable.

4.4.8 It was noted that the Development Management section (paragraphs 32 to 35) contains vital policy but the overarching principal needs to be better understood by decision makers. Problems occur in practice as sustainability is not given its suitable weight as a material consideration. Many felt that the policy faced similar problems to the rest of SPP, it is difficult to establish when content is a statement or policy.

Placemaking

4.4.9 21% of respondents selected 'Placemaking' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. As noted in other sections it was brought up that there is confusion over what parts of the policy are guidance and which parts are principles.

4.4.10 The main concerns are that the policy is not definitive enough and doesn't give enough direction or detail. Broad headings should be further explored with smaller sub headings. It was also felt by a number of respondents that there is not enough weight given to trying to create communities, and that placemaking is often overlooked in favour of high land value development. The wider benefits of placemaking such as public health benefits should be incorporated.

4.4.11 Some respondents felt that 'Placemaking' was an empty term that would simply be used to promote development with no real substance to follow. Design led approaches like charrettes/community engagement events do not necessarily have a direct impact on the end result of a proposal. The existing set up is too vague and does not help create new places.

4.4.12 It was noted that the Development Planning section mainly focuses on Green Belts. This would be better suited to fall under a 'Spatial Strategy' section within the policy. Paragraph 49 seems to encourage planning authorities to designate new areas of Green Belt which is echoed in paragraph 82. It would be more conducive to sustainable economic growth to look on Green Belts as an established designation that should be reviewed critically overtime to ensure it is not restricting options for the sustainable growth of any settlement. Whilst a Green Belt review may be undertaken when preparing a new Local Development Plan, the purpose of the review and the methodology used is often unclear. It is apparent across different authorities that when developing the spatial strategy for longer term growth, the Green Belt and Green Belt locations are not considered suitable for development, despite adhering to the objectives. Community growing spaces could be better represented in paragraph 52 of this section.

4.4.13 Paragraph 56 on design as a reason for refusal reads oddly amongst the wider policy content: it is very geared toward refusing development purely on design grounds and in doing so seems to elevate design above other considerations. Design being a subjective concept, this policy seems unduly risky. Any single issue can – dependent on circumstances – be a reason for refusal. Singling design out like this feels unbalanced.

Promoting Town Centres

4.4.14 11% of respondents selected 'Promoting Town Centres' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. Paragraph 67 references mixed use development, it was suggested that there should be a stronger and broader requirement to deliver mixed use, probably best placed in the Placemaking section. This should be encouraged mainly in suburban housing and business parks.

Promoting Rural Development

4.4.15 11% of respondents selected 'Promoting Rural Development' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. There was support for the policies on wild land, however it was noted that there is some confusion about how this should be applied. Clarity on how the policies on wild land should apply to other forms of development, e.g. housing, forestry, aquaculture would be welcomed.

4.4.16 Comments regarding paragraph 80 stated it went too far in protecting agricultural land, especially in encouraging a moratorium approach in some localities to protection of land that is of less than 'prime agricultural' quality. Sub-prime land should not be a reason to set aside the presumption rather than consider this issue against other issues.

4.4.17 It was noted that paragraphs 81 & 82 were difficult to understand for one respondent, guidance could do with a more consistent and specified approach particularly in regard to rural housing.

Supporting Business and Employment

4.4.18 8.77% of respondents selected 'Supporting Business and Employment' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. No comments were received regarding this policy.

Enabling Delivery of New Homes

4.4.19 22% of respondents selected 'Enabling Delivery of New Homes' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing, making it the most picked policy. The main concern is that the policy isn't definitive enough or give sufficient direction, due to the lack of standardised method to calculate a 5-year effective housing land supply. Furthermore if 10 year plans become a reality this should be appropriately adapted. Local authorities could potentially work with housing and infrastructure providers to prepare an annual housing land audit which would help calculate the availability of effective housing land.

4.4.20 Some suggested including a template or a table of housing numbers and calculations that could form the basis of each local calculation. The terms 'effective' and 'generous supply' were also questioned as it leaves room for interpretation. It was argued that undelivered sites that cannot reasonably be delivered within the next 5 year period should be discounted from the supply. Past completions should be taken into account as this would give a more realistic version that takes account of what has actually been delivered rather than what was hoped to be delivered.

4.4.21 Some respondents said that details should be included in SPP when a locality falls short of their housing targets to help the authority deal with the situation. The role of Local Place Plans in achieving housing targets should also be defined within SPP.

4.4.22 Others noted that guidance on tenure integration and guidance on accessible housing should be included. Affordable housing should be provided within a plan led system and not seen as an easy exception to policies. Concerns were raised about the range of housing being provided, with the current planning bill putting emphasis on housing provision for the elderly, students, disabled etc. SPP should address this within the subject policy and explain how the LDP is expected to identify and address these targets.

Valuing the Historic Environment

4.4.23 14% of respondents selected 'Valuing the Historic Environment' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. It was noted that whilst the topic area was useful Key Agencies provided more in-depth guidance. It was also mentioned that the text on the historic environment is relatively brief, and doesn't explain well how conflicts should be managed. For sites such as battlefields, there is no attempt to identify how relative significance might be managed.

4.4.24 One respondent valued the inclusion of paragraph 145 on Scheduled Monuments as important as it provides a measure which allows for further explanation of what the key issues are in relation to impacts. A clearer definition of what this means relative to this policy should be provided, whether this is in SPP or in supporting guidance such as HES's Managing Change Guidance.

4.4.25 Another respondent argued against paragraph 150 on Archaeology and said that rather than completely deterring the excavation of sites SPP should promote the excavation of historical assets. Much archaeological learning now comes about as a result of development-funded investigation. Therefore sub-surface archaeology should not be presented, as here, as a real constraint to development. The distinction should be made with upstanding archaeology which people can appreciate in-situ and which requires stronger protection.

Delivering Heat and Electricity

4.4.26 26% of respondents selected 'Delivering Heat and Electricity' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. It was noted that whilst the topic area was useful Key Agencies provided more in-depth guidance. It was also noted that while planning can aim to improve energy efficiency this is more of a building standards issue in delivering sustainable development. A complementary approach would be to have a national energy plan with enforceable policies. Generally, there is a lack of understanding of how heat networks can add value to development, and how heat mapping can be implemented by the LDP.

4.4.27 Paragraphs 158-159 on heat are easily misinterpreted according to a number of responses. Others felt that the LDP should have gone further and mapped out specific opportunities and included a requirement for heat networks, rather than support for their implementation.

4.4.28 The spatial framework for onshore wind was critiqued, described as a broad brush meaningless exercise. This could be better identified within landscape capacity studies and their role should be strengthened. Paragraphs 161 & 162 ask for different levels of detail to be provided which has caused confusion for several respondents.

4.4.29 Many comments were received about the Spatial Framework table. It was said the table is misleading in stating that wind farms are likely to be acceptable in Group 3 areas. The reality is that many wind farms have been found to be unacceptable in Group 3 areas (mainly for landscape reasons). The title of Group 3: 'Areas with potential', is a more accurate description of the real situation, and should be repeated in the text below. In Group 2 areas, SPP should clarify its position on wild land and address the conflict between the Group 2 status of wild land, paragraphs 200 & 215 contradict each other on this matter.

4.4.30 One respondent praised SPP for the strong focus on wind farm developments but countered this with a criticism of the limited detail regarding other forms of renewable energy.

Planning for Zero Waste

4.4.31 12% of respondents selected 'Planning for Zero Waste' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. It was noted that whilst the topic area was useful Key Agencies provided more in-depth guidance.

4.4.32 One respondent did not agree that industrial locations are appropriate for waste management as they are often located in close proximity to residential uses. This in turn leads to more objections and prolongs the Development Management process.

4.4.33 Paragraph 188 was said to give good direction for planning authorities, but more information should be provided to determine whether waste management facilities should be appropriate uses of the land. More clarity should be provided to planning authorities about the impacts that can arise when new non waste development is granted planning permission adjacent to waste management facilities, or when waste facilities are granted planning permission adjacent to non waste uses.

4.4.34 Paragraph 191 does well to provide buffer zones between waste development and sensitive receptors. This should be strengthened as in its current form is merely guidance and needs more weight.

Valuing the Natural Environment

4.4.35 18% of respondents selected 'Valuing the Natural Environment' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. It was noted that whilst the topic area was useful Key Agencies provided more in-depth guidance.

4.4.36 One respondent was of the opinion that the policy does not go far enough regarding the treatment of biodiversity and ecosystem services. There was also concern about how landscape impact of wind turbines is to be considered.

4.4.37 Some noted that the subject area provides too much encouragement for various local designations which both increases the constraints on how a planning authority and its development community can serve housing need and demand and debases the coinage of higher-tier design.

4.4.38 Paragraph 205 on peatland gives no indication on how authorities are supposed to calculate the effects of development on carbon dioxide emissions. Paragraph 212 could more clearly relate to the wording of SSSI legislation and citations.

Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure

4.4.39 7% of respondents selected 'Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. It was noted that whilst the topic area was useful Key Agencies provided more in-depth guidance.

Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources

4.4.40 5% of respondents selected 'Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. One respondent cited paragraph 241 on the protection of peatland areas as slightly problematic. The terminology used needs clarification, and there are concerns that it does align with paragraph 161 on onshore windfarm framework that only protects deep peat and priority peatland habitats.

4.4.41 Policies relating to the protection of carbon rich soil throughout SPP were deemed confusing and the approach taken does not align across the policy topics. The terminology used includes carbon rich soils, peat, deep peat, peatland and priority peatland habitat. The words 'peat' and 'peatland' mean different things to different people and are often used interchangeably. Policy should set a clear framework for the approach to carbon rich soils.

Supporting Aquaculture

4.4.42 7% of respondents selected 'Supporting Aquaculture' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. It was said that there is a general lack of clarity over the role of planning and what Scottish Govt Policy to access and use when dealing with marine fish farm applications. Propionate, succinct policy for the end user is what is required The SPP gives local authorities the responsibility for managing the health of wild fish stocks, but without any accompanying expertise or capacity to do so.

Managing Flood Risk and Drainage

4.4.43 12% of respondents selected 'Managing Flood Risk and Drainage' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. It was noted that whilst the topic area was useful Key Agencies provided more in-depth guidance. The transition from SPP to Key Agency Guidance and ultimately Development Management can result in some issues in the assessment of development proposals.

4.4.44 One respondent identified a minor difficulty interpreting the subject policy. In areas with existing flood defences, assessments should be made under the assumption there is no flood defences. There were also calls for a clearer statement on different urban/rural development pressures within functional flood plain and the need for wider regional understanding of flood storage. The same was said of coastal flooding, which is addressed within the Rural Development policy.

Promoting Sustainable Transport & Active Travel

4.4.45 12% of respondents selected 'Promoting Sustainable Transport & Active Travel' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. One respondent noted that it is a bit vague as to what planning can do to promote this.

Supporting Digital Connectivity

4.4.46 7% of respondents selected 'Supporting Digital Connectivity' with regards to policies that are unclear or confusing. One respondent noted regarding paragraph 300 that planning authorities should not question the need for the service to be provided and that applicants will provide information in their submission indicating the need for the development. However, the need for the development is considered in DPEA reports which contradicts the wording of the policy.

4.4.47 One respondent noted that SPP is nowhere near clear enough in explaining, or adding appropriate weight, to the significance of mobile digital connectivity in terms of delivering sustainability to all land uses and the economic significance/implications as a whole. These policies need to be abundantly clear with regards their relationship with telecommunications and digital infrastructure and what it means for national and local economy and society.

4.5 Analysis of Question 4

Do you find any SPP policies difficult to apply or implement?

55 respondents

Figure 4: Question 4 Responses

Figure 4: Question 4 Responses

Enabling Delivery of New Homes 33% 18
Delivering Heat and Electricity 29% 16
Placemaking 24% 13
No Comment 24% 13
Promoting Rural Development 15% 8
Sustainability 16% 9
Valuing the Historic Environment 15% 8
Valuing the Natural Environment 15% 8
Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure 15% 8
Promoting Sustainable Transport and Active Travel 15% 8
Supporting Business and Employment 13% 7
Promoting Town Centres 11% 6
Managing Flood Risk and Drainage 11% 6
Supporting Digital Connectivity 11% 6
Planning for Zero Waste 9% 5
Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources 9% 5
Supporting Aquaculture 9% 5

Results

4.5.1 Figure 4 identifies 'Enabling Delivery of New Homes' 'Delivering Heat and Electricity' and 'Placemaking' as the most commonly selected SPP policies that are difficult to apply or implement. Of the 55 responses to this question they were selected 18, 16 and 13 times respectively. Various reasons were given for this such as the lack of method to calculate a 5-year land supply and the difficulty involved with establishing a heat network. More detailed justification provided by respondents is set out below.

4.5.2 The least common SPP policies to be selected as difficult to apply or implement were 'Supporting Aquaculture' 'Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources' and 'Planning for Zero Waste' selected 5 times each.

General Feedback

4.5.3 A recurring theme of the feedback noted that while SPP provides good quality abstract and ideals, when it comes to the translation of the policy into on the ground development, it is difficult to balance the interest of public and private bodies. Political and business pressures can potentially compromise the policies of SPP. Pressure to hit housing targets can compromise the ability to provide things like high quality design, open space and energy efficient technology in order to meet the housing demand.

4.5.4 It was also noted that the presentation of SPP can cause some confusion. Many suggested that a revised version could identify where text is referring to policy, explanation and procedure to make the document easier to interpret.

4.5.5 Regional differences between the central belt and highland area of Scotland can make it problematic to apply policy nationwide. Some local authorities do not have the resources or capacity to undertake all of the stated requirements.

4.5.6 It was stated that there remained a gap between SPP and the Land Use Strategy which means that some forms of development (e.g. housing) can have effects on assets such as prime agricultural land which is a land use matter.

4.5.7 Ultimately, LDPs and SDPs should take the concepts established by national documents and adapt them accordingly. SPP should provide policy framework that emphasises the need for local interpretation.

Policy Specific Feedback

Sustainability

4.5.8 16% of respondents selected 'Sustainability' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. It was noted that the principle policies are too vague and open to interpretation. It was also considered that the lack of guidance on how to interpret and apply the presumption in favour of development that contributes to sustainable development has led to the interpretation of this issue evolving through appeal decisions.

4.5.9 From a housebuilders point of view, it can be frustrating when a residential development is rejected as the principle of providing this use is integral to meeting a sustainable growth in housing supply. SPP states that planning should direct the right development to the right place, considering the re-use or re-development of brownfield land before new development takes place on greenfield sites. Brownfield land is difficult to deliver, and as SPP policies on housing land supply focus on speed, this is at the expense of sustainable development.

4.5.10 Sustainability and climate change are key issues for the future of planning. If they are to be addressed then national policy has to be much stronger on issues like energy efficiency, connectivity, design and protection of natural resources.

Placemaking

4.5.11 24% of respondents selected 'Placemaking' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. Some respondents commented that placemaking is often contradicted by the need to meet housing demands. Therefore, the quality of a development is potentially compromised by the need to actually deliver it.

4.5.12 One response stated that the green belt policy was not being properly applied as a strategic land use tool. As stated within SPP a green belt is not necessary for most settlements but should be appropriate to the location when implemented. The stance is being used to restrict and discourage development. There is also some confusion over what constitutes a "sufficiently robust boundary", with rear gardens receiving preference over rivers and train lines.

4.5.13 SPP does not allow for a sustainable brownfield focused delivery strategy due to the increased pressure to deliver housing at a faster pace. Policies on greenfield release allowed under 5 year effective housing land supply policies also constrain this strategy. When a proposed plan is due to be adopted and supersede the previous iteration SPP states that it should be considered whether granting planning permission would prejudice the emerging plan. To ascertain in what situation this should be applied, SPP should clearly define the circumstances in which a proposal is substantial, or one which has a significant cumulative effect.

Promoting Town Centres

4.5.14 11% of respondents selected 'Promoting Town Centres' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. There were calls for SPP to clearly differentiate how the policy applies to urban and rural town centres due to geographical differences. Specifically within urban areas there is a potential to expand the definition of Town Centres in recognition of their different functions.

4.5.15 Within the policy it should be illustrated what constitutes "significant footfall generating uses" as the vague wording leaves the term open to interpretation. This has caused problems at appeals, with developments like coffee shops arguing that their use does not attract more footfall as most customers utilise their drive thru windows.

Promoting Rural Development

4.5.16 15% of respondents selected 'Promoting Rural Development' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. No comments were received regarding this policy.

Supporting Business and Employment

4.5.17 15% of respondents selected 'Supporting Business and Employment' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. No comments were received regarding this policy.

Enabling Delivery of New Homes

4.5.18 33% of respondents selected 'Enabling Delivery of New Homes' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. The most common point raised was the lack of defined method used to calculate effective housing land supply. The Housing Need and Demand Assessment (HNDA) is an overly complex tool that needs to be modified, and the document should specify that HNDA is a material consideration. HNDAs should be subject to more engagement and scrutiny. The SPP preference for development on brownfield land would be more deliverable if planning authorities were encouraged to critically review their existing stocks of employment and business land each time they prepare a new LDP, identifying any that is no longer providing significant employment benefit to the area, and re-designating it for housing.

4.5.19 Paragraphs 118 and 123 note that the measure of land should be about the availability and nature of available land. It was suggested that the supply of land and the delivery of new homes should be measured separately.

4.5.20 On the matter of housing market areas (HMA) and sub-market areas it was recognised that HMAs cannot always be contained within the planning authority boundary. The overlapping of HMAs between neighbouring areas leads to difficulties in ensuring housing land requirements are met across relevant regions. These difficulties result from a lack of evidence, data collection and inconsistencies between planning authorities.

Valuing the Historic Environment

4.5.21 15% of respondents selected 'Valuing the Historic Environment' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. It was argued that the policy was largely redundant given the extensive range of guidance HES provides on the matter.

4.5.22 It was noted that there is a lack of information on how conflicts should be addressed, and where historic environment assets should be prioritised. In regard to listed buildings (paragraph 142) where a proposal is contrary to the Development Plan, the definition of what "enabling development" means could be clearer. In regard to archaeology (paragraph 150), the subject policy needs to be updated as not all planning authorities have access to archaeological advice.

Delivering Heat and Electricity

4.5.23 29% of respondents selected 'Delivering Heat and Electricity' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. It was largely agreed that heat networks are intrinsically a good idea, however, there is little or no guidance on how this is to be achieved. Planning authorities that do not have significant urban settlements and instead focus on low carbon heat find this particularly hard. Heat mapping is difficult to integrate into a LDP.

4.5.24 In general, it was noted that technology is advancing at a faster rate than plans are being made. This makes it harder to write policy that will still be relevant in 5 years' time, let alone the potential 10 year timescale proposed in the new planning bill.

4.5.25 It was noted that Building Standards should deliver sustainable buildings and communities. Development Plans should seek to ensure an area's full potential for electricity and heat from renewable sources is achieved, in line with national climate change targets, giving due regard to relevant environmental, community and cumulative impact considerations.

4.5.26 Some comments argued that the policy effectively removes the purpose of the LDP which is to provide a spatial context for renewable energy and other energy facilities. It was suggested that sufficient existing designations such as NSAs and National Parks which effectively ensure appropriate location of onshore wind developments and additional restrictions placed through Wild Land Areas are not required and this should be made clear in future iterations of the SPP.

4.5.27 One response noted that policies relating to heat are more likely to be applied to housing or mixed-use developments. The policies can at present be applied to non-residential uses (for example major retail developments which would have long term consistent heat demand) but rarely are. The wording in the introduction section of A Low Carbon Place must be amended to make it explicitly clear that all energy using developments are expected to contribute towards the delivery of the Scottish Government's low carbon and climate change ambitions and targets.

Planning for Zero Waste

4.5.28 9% of respondents selected 'Valuing the Historic Environment' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. It was suggested that within the subject policy (paragraph 191) the buffer guide between waste facilities and dwellings should be upgraded to a minimum distance to discourage developers attempting to reduce the buffer.

Valuing the Natural Environment

4.5.29 15% of respondents selected 'Valuing the Historic Environment' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. Some noted that there was a lack of depth on how positive outcomes for biodiversity can be realised, and no development of ecosystems services as a tool for developing plans and making planning decisions.

Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure

4.5.30 15% of respondents selected 'Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. Clearer standards and minimum requirements could be set for new developments to further encourage the policy. This could include a certain percentage of housing required to have green roofs.

4.5.31 It was suggested that the policy could be expanded upon to further promote community growing spaces and ensure it is applied consistently.

Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources

4.5.32 9% of respondents selected 'Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. It was noted that paragraph 243 on borrow pits potentially discourages the use of materials available on site and therefore increases the transport effects and carbon emissions associated with some developments (eg wind farms in remote upland locations). A balance needs to be struck between the use of existing facilities for extraction and the impacts of transporting materials over long distances.

Supporting Aquaculture

4.5.33 9% of respondents selected 'Supporting Aquaculture' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. It was suggested that there could be a better connection between marine planning and terrestrial planning to allow for infrastructure development that cross over between the two systems. It was commented that there was no guidance for planning authorities on assessing impacts on marine environment in general, and wild fish stocks in particular.

Managing Flood Risk and Drainage

4.5.34 11% of respondents selected 'Managing Flood Risk and Drainage' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. It was noted that the Development Planning and Development Management sections of this policy were more difficult to interpret. For example, it would be extremely helpful if the exceptional circumstances where land raising may be acceptable were set out in one of these sections. Specifically, in Glasgow, the upper Clyde presents a geographically unique situation. It is difficult to promote development along this corridor when it is curtailed by flood risk policy.

Promoting Sustainable Transport & Active Travel

4.5.35 15% of respondents selected 'Promoting Sustainable Transport & Active Travel' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. This section was said to be more direct and controlling, which could potentially be redressed to sit well with the rest of SPP. Another response noted that it is harder to meaningfully apply this policy in in larger rural areas.

Supporting Digital Connectivity

4.5.36 11% of respondents selected 'Supporting Digital Connectivity' with regards to policies that are difficult to apply or implement. The main concern is that technology is improving at a faster rate than plans are being made, making it more difficult to adapt and account for modern technology.

4.5.37 Telecommunication deployment is often a contentious issue and more could be included within the policy to support their development and counterbalance it against other material considerations.

4.6 Analysis of Question 5

What policies need the most local flexibility?

54 respondents

Figure 5: Question 5 Responses

Figure 5: Question 5 Responses

Placemaking 35.19% 19
Promoting Rural Development 35.19% 19
Enabling Delivery of New Homes 29.63% 16
Promoting Town Centres 25.93% 14
No Comment 25.93% 14
Supporting Business and Employment 22.22% 12
Promoting Sustainable Transport and Active Travel 22.22% 12
Delivering Heat and Electricity 18.52% 10
Sustainability 14.81% 8
Valuing the Natural Environment 14.81% 8
Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure 14.81% 8
Valuing the Historic Environment 12.96% 7
Managing Flood Risk and Drainage 9.26% 5
Supporting Digital Connectivity 9.26% 5
Planning for Zero Waste 7.41% 4
Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources 7.41% 4
Supporting Aquaculture 5.56% 3

Results

4.6.1 Figure 5 identifies 'Placemaking' 'Promoting Rural Development' and 'Enabling Delivery of New Homes' as the most commonly selected SPP policies that need the most local flexibility. Of the 60 responses to this question they were selected 19, 19 and 16 times respectively. Various reasons were given for this such as the need for local influence on placemaking and criteria on land for allowing residential development. More detailed justification provided by respondents is set out below.

4.6.2 The least common SPP policy to be selected as to needing the most local flexibility was 'Supporting Aquaculture, selected 3 times.

General Feedback

4.6.3 It was noted that a more standardised approach to the Scottish planning system should improve public confidence but also that a one size fits all approach is not appropriate to a region like Scotland with so many varying economic, social and environmental factors. It was noted that some councils face resource issues that others may not have e.g. archaeological expertise.

4.6.4 It was noted that if policies are dealt with at a national level, clear guidance was required as to which can then be adapted at local level. It was suggested that SPP could form the principle of the policy and local authorities should provide an answer to these principles in their LDPs based on local circumstances. It was considered that this would improve consistency across Scotland and account for regional variations.

4.6.5 It was considered that future flexibility will be dependent on how the next SPP is framed and if greater weight/national status is given to SPP then it may be harder to deviate from national policy at a local level. A statement in SPP that allows for the policy to be interpreted and amended to meet local requirements would be considered useful.

4.6.6 One respondent did not welcome flexibility in certain aspects of planning like community growing spaces as this is seen as a positive thing that should only be encouraged.

4.6.7 The idea of placing associated developments in tandem was suggested so that cumulative effects can be more effectively addressed. Areas of Coordinated Action was considered helpful in identifying the priorities for local places and encourage joined up action across agencies.

Policy Specific Feedback

Sustainability

4.6.8 15% of respondents selected 'Sustainability' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. It was noted that the term sustainability is broad enough in its own right to merit flexible interpretation. It was also noted that if greater local flexibility was implemented this would potentially exacerbate the issues that are currently present with regards to sustainable delivery of housing and other issues.

Placemaking

4.6.9 35% of respondents selected 'Placemaking' with regards to policies that require the most local flexibility. It was noted that Placemaking needs the most amount of flexibility because of the varied nature of different parts of Scotland. It was considered that local context should be at the heart of placemaking to ensure developments respond appropriately to, and are in keeping with, the surrounding area. It was also noted that the risk of local variation for placemaking is that strategic aims are diluted by local decisions and ultimately fall short of national targets.

4.6.10 Paragraph 39 of SPP was highlighted ('planning should direct development to the right place') and it was noted that this emphasises the importance of local knowledge in Development Plan production and DM application processes. It was considered that directing development to the right place, requires sufficient flexibility in respect to technical solutions, but equally with regard to how different 'material considerations' are given weight in the decision-making process.

4.6.11 It was noted that more emphasis should be given to implementing Paragraphs 49 - 52 and adhering to these policies through Local Development Plan preparations e.g. given the disparities between planning authorities and Local Development Plans for the use of the green belt, it is evident that there is a need to be more robust in the application of certain policies.

Promoting Town Centres

4.6.12 26% of respondents selected 'Promoting Town Centres' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. This was cited as one of the policies that should be most adaptable due to the changing modern shopping environment and SPP needs to allow planning authorities to clearly define the role and function of their network of centres.

Promoting Rural Development

4.6.13 35% of respondents selected 'Promoting Rural Development' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. It was noted that one size fits all policies could be problematic e.g. distillery related development.

4.6.14 It was also noted that in some instances the policy can be too generic and could be used against planning authorities. It was suggested that it may be more appropriate for planning authorities to set out the circumstances in which development can take place in the countryside, specifically the scale and form of development which is likely to differ between localities/landscapes.

Supporting Business and Employment

4.6.15 22% of respondents selected 'Supporting Business and Employment' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. Respondents noted that this policy is influenced by local economic strategies and a national policy can be useful but the disparity between localities requires local variation. A potential risk noted was that a national policy would take a purely quantitative approach and ignore the qualitative aspects which can be key to ensuring that particular local economies can respond positively and quickly to inward investment and indigenous business expansion at all scales.

Enabling Delivery of New Homes

4.6.16 30% of respondents selected 'Enabling Delivery of New Homes' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. It was considered that flexibility within this subject area is required to match targets to spatial strategies. It was also noted that flexibility would allow innovative approaches like Accessible Housing Strategies to be implemented without worrying that 5-year effective supply of housing will not be met.

4.6.17 It was noted that LDP policies are a response to the character and nature of the city and contain a clear and detailed policy approach. Each area has unique circumstances and it was considered that planning authorities or city regions are in the best position to determine their own housing needs.

4.6.18 It was noted that SPP should allow for targets for the delivery of affordable homes to be flexible and the level of affordable housing required as a contribution within a market site should generally be no more than 25% of the total number of houses. It was considered more difficult to implement affordable housing in cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow and suggested that recognition should be given to this in SPP.

4.6.19 In contrast, it was also noted that there should be no scope for flexibility on planning to meet housing need and demand in full. It was noted that the existence of wider factors that may potentially limit delivery potential should not be used as a reason not to plan for what it required.

Valuing the Historic Environment

4.6.20 13% of respondents selected 'Valuing the Historic Environment' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. It was considered a challenge to always strike the right balance between interests in areas of high sensitivity.

Delivering Heat and Electricity

4.6.21 19% of respondents selected 'Delivering Heat and Electricity' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. Across the responses received it was noted that some planning authorities are more advanced with heat networks and district heating than others. It was noted that strategies and how networks will be delivered through planning are likely to vary considerably to best meet local needs and it was suggested that SPP policy should reflect this.

4.6.22 Regarding onshore wind farms, it was noted that SPP should acknowledge some areas have designated large portions of land and have now reached cumulative capacity. It was noted that the policy should allow authorities to limit where appropriate their provision of more land for this use. One respondent commented that rather than flexibility they would rather see a whole new approach to onshore wind policy and delivering renewable energy across a range of technologies.

Planning for Zero Waste

4.6.23 7% of respondents selected 'Planning for Zero Waste' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. No comments were received regarding this policy.

Valuing the Natural Environment

4.6.24 15% of respondents selected 'Valuing the Natural Environment' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. No comments were received regarding this policy.

Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure

4.6.25 15% of respondents selected 'Maximising the Benefits of Green Infrastructure' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. It was noted that a more flexible approach to green infrastructure in dense urban areas could be provided through the greening of buildings to improve air quality, biodiversity, drainage and other environmental factors.

Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources

4.6.26 7% of respondents selected 'Promoting Responsible Extraction of Resources' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. No comments were received regarding this policy.

Supporting Aquaculture

4.6.27 6% of respondents selected 'Supporting Aquaculture' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. No comments were received regarding this policy.

Managing Flood Risk and Drainage

4.6.29 9% of respondents selected 'Managing Flood Risk and Drainage' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. It was noted that the policy should adapt to the challenge of climate change and recognise that a departure from a national approach may be appropriate in certain areas.

Promoting Sustainable Transport & Active Travel

4.6.30 22% of respondents selected 'Promoting Sustainable Transport & Active Travel' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. It was noted that transport policies should encourage lower maximum parking standards in areas well served by public and active transport to align with climate change goals.

Supporting Digital Connectivity

4.6.31 9% of respondents selected 'Supporting Digital Connectivity' with regards to policies that need the most local flexibility. It was noted that as 5G rolls out telecom structures may become taller and bulkier and planning should recognise the need for this service. It was suggested that local policies should be more flexible, and priorities should be revisited regarding digital network infrastructure on heritage assets.

4.7 Analysis of Question 6

What do you see as the main issues for the Scottish Government to consider when developing future national policies?

48 respondents

General

4.7.1 It was noted that, in order for SPP to function as part of a robust Development Plan, the Scottish Government should look at examples of best practice and work closely with Planning Authorities, Heads of Planning Scotland (HOPS) and other contributors. It was further noted that, when it comes to meeting SPP aims, resource constraints across Planning Authorities and consultees could be a barrier to effective collaboration.

4.7.2 Some contributors noted that a clear and concise set of national policies (combined NPF4 and SPP), not open to widespread interpretation, would lead to greater consistency in decision making across Scotland allowing planning authorities to use accepted best practice in a resource efficient manner rather than each planning authority coming up with their own individual approach.

4.7.3 It was suggested that SPP should make it clear when national policy is not required to be repeated in LDPs. It was also considered that a standardised approach should be advocated when creating LDP policies which would mean local flexibility was limited (unless justified for exceptional reasons) encouraging consistency in decision making. It was suggested that a national framework of criteria could be set out to help guide local policy.

4.7.4 It was further noted that SPP should be sufficiently detailed to provide certainty to developers and communities on how policy should be interpreted and implemented by decision makers.

4.7.5 It was considered that one of the main issues to the preparation of SPP as part of the Development Plan is how to accommodate the highly varied geographies of the country. It was noted that model policies should be prepared for nationwide application where Scottish Government are fully clear on what Planning Authorities should do. The following examples given:

  • Urban Area;
  • Sustainable development;
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation;
  • Place making should be at the heart of the national policy;
  • Housing delivery (particularly on brownfield land);
  • Support for the re-use of vacant and derelict;
  • Continued focus on supporting town centres;
  • Low carbon renewable energy and heat;
  • Improving digital and travel connectivity;
  • Natural and Built Heritage (in particular when dealing with nationally designated sites).

4.7.6 The implications of Brexit to the Scottish economy, businesses, investment and rural areas was noted as a possible area to be reflected in SPP.

4.7.7 It was suggested that the content of SPP should be cross checked (against other legislation/policy/guidance) for consistency. It noted that, for example, paragraph 244 of SPP was too prescriptive and as such conflicted with Article 3 of the EIA Directive.

Climate Change

4.7.8 Climate change was frequently raised, noted as an immediate universal threat. It was noted that SPP should enable planning to support and deliver climate change mitigation and adaptation, whilst recognising the role of Building Standards. Aspirations for active travel, energy efficiency, heat networks, reducing energy demand and others means of reducing carbon emissions should be increased above minimum standards currently set out in relevant regulation.

4.7.9 In line with climate change goals an interlinked approach to public and active transport that reduces reliance on cars and decarbonises travel should be promoted. SPP should ensure the provision of walking and cycling infrastructure as an attractive means of getting around, not just for leisure. Placing a requirement within SPP to allocate low emission zones was also suggested to contribute towards a low carbon economy.

4.7.10 It was noted that nature can play an important role in reducing climate change risks and by supporting the development of green infrastructure, coastal infrastructure, flood risk management and biodiversity net gain, the next SPP can help Scotland adapt to a changing climate.

4.7.11 The effective protection of carbon stores including carbon rich soils was also noted with regards to mitigating climate change. A clear, cohesive and consistent policy framework for the effective protection and enhancement of carbon rich soils would be beneficial across all policy areas. National policy should provide direction as to how Development Plans can support the delivery of Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies in planning for energy use and heat supply.

4.7.12 The future management of surface water due to climate change was also noted and the creation of a stronger policy framework on blue/green infrastructure to address surface water flooding was suggested. It was considered that this would make Scotland's urban drainage more resilient and contribute towards greener, healthier and more prosperous cities and towns.

4.7.13 It was also suggested that SPP could place a requirement for all 'big shed' roofs to be either green or to host solar panels.

Delivery of Housing

4.7.14 The most consistently identified issue for the delivery of housing was the lack of methodology to calculate housing land requirements and it was considered that this can sometimes be to the detriment of placemaking and well-designed places. Several respondents were concerned about the volume of development that is required across the country and questioned if quality placemaking was suffering due to this demand. It was noted that focus should be on the design and liveability of areas rather than only meeting housing targets and priority should be given to sustainable development that supports public health reform.

4.7.15 It was noted that SPP should recognise the implications of housing targets and the different markets across the country. It was considered that the 25% provision of affordable housing should be maintained, and a similar self-built/custom-built requirement should be included within the policy section.

4.7.16 It was suggested that SPP policies should ensure community facilities are included as an integral part of volume house building layouts.

4.7.17 It was suggested that future rural housing policies should be more flexible to allow for sustainable developments.

4.7.18 It was suggested that site effectiveness should be a matter for unambiguous policy, and it should be rooted in ensuring councils do not continue to support sites which will not be delivered. SPP policies should be tested for viability/ deliverability and should be accompanied by a delivery programme. One response from a planning authority echoes this comment.

Food Security

4.7.19 Respondents noted that prime agricultural land should be protected to support the security of local food supply and lessen reliance on imported foodstuffs. Community growing spaces should be encouraged to further support this goal.

Energy Generation & Heating

4.7.20 Several respondents wanted more direction at national level to require better and more efficient energy networks to be part of Development Planning and plan implementation through Development Management (and building standards) requirements. The SPP heat and energy subject policy can play a role in reducing energy consumption.

4.7.21 The effect of private water supply was noted as this is a regular issue with onshore wind developments. It was suggested that onshore wind farms should be emphasised as in perpetuity as already described in paragraph 170. Whilst support for onshore wind through the spatial framework has helped the industry and the electricity sector to work towards decarbonising, the more limited opportunities available must be acknowledged and should be reflected in the spatial frameworks for onshore wind. Explicit reference to landscape capacity is needed in light of the complicated cumulative scenarios and the trend for very large turbine typology now being proposed. Supportive policies should be put in place that recognise the need for the use of efficient and cost-effective technologies and support the repowering of unused turbines.

4.7.22 It was noted that the viability of the North Sea may suffer with the switch to a low carbon economy and with more environmentally friendly practices being put into place the oil industry will suffer.

Historic & Natural Environment

4.7.23 Preserving the natural and historic environment was noted as a key issue for the new SPP. It was noted that the new SPP has the potential to provide a degree of consistency which is currently missing, and the policies should promote biodiversity as much as possible. The importance of natural capital for the economy and society should be emphasised in SPP and NPF, and the next version of SPP could include a clear requirement for all new developments to deliver Biodiversity Net Gain. It was also suggested that where net gain is not achievable on site, developments should contribute to nearby opportunities.

4.7.24 It was noted that while there is a commitment to protect and enhance designated sites, application of this can be varied, due to lack of prioritisation, lack of guidance on handling conflicts, and lack of expertise and capacity in central and local government. Others noted that it is important to allow scope for case by case assessment between planning authorities and statutory bodies within the policies to ensure sufficient flexibility to deliver locally important business and industry improvements in these sensitive areas. One respondent noted that a tree planting standard for car parks and new streets could be implemented to offset the carbon emissions from these traffic increasing uses.

Infrastructure

4.7.25 Infrastructure was commonly mentioned as a key issue. It was suggested that development should deliver an infrastructure first approach which encourages longer term strategic planning and subsequently addresses future transportation, health, education and community facility requirements.

4.7.26 Blue and green infrastructure is an essential component of sustainable development and would benefit from a much stronger drive from Scottish Government if delivery on the ground is to be ensured.

Waste Hierarchy & Recycling

4.7.27 It was noted that waste would be a main issue for Scotland moving forward as there will be an increased need to reuse/recycle/recover items. This will increase the need for facilities and it was suggested that SPP should appropriately account for this growing demand. There also needs to be adequate policies for pushing waste up the waste hierarchy and providing facilities for dealing with residual waste.

Digital Connectivity & Modern Technology

4.7.28 There were calls to provide greater guidance for digital connectivity and the rollout of telecoms infrastructure. Future national policy should emphasise the viability of communities that rely upon improved connectivity, which would result in more visually impacting structures. Understanding the local delivery constraints of digital infrastructure, how it relates with all other land uses, the significant material benefits of this locally and nationally, and how to write policy that is abundantly clear and concise on the matter so that it is easily transferred and interpreted at a local level.

4.7.29 The future of online shopping was also cited as an issue, as less people will make trips to town centres for retail purposes. New policy should reflect this shift and rethink town centre policies as a result of modern technology.

Key Agencies

4.7.30 It was noted that while SPP provides sufficient guidance for topics such as the historic environment, natural environment and flooding, key agencies such as HES and SEPA provide more detailed guidance. Policy models could be set out within SPP to be included in LDPs. It would ensure that there is commonality across Scottish planning authorities and avoid each planning authority having to devise policy positions that are essentially the same and it would provide much more certainty.

Flood Risk & Coastal Planning

4.7.31 It was noted that there is a significant benefit in flood risk policy being set out at the national level. While the risk of flooding varies with geography, the impact and experience of being flooded is the same across Scotland and therefore local flexibility would not be appropriate. This would also allow SEPA to engage with Development Plans in a much more efficient and effective way. It was considered that future policy should be clear on who should do what and specify what exactly is required of developers, planning authorities and agencies. Clarity should be provided on which areas are open to flexible interpretation, and those which are not.

Air Quality

4.7.32 It was noted that SPP should provide a clear policy framework for the consideration of air quality in delivering healthy places in both Development Plans and Development Management. It was noted that at the moment there is very little policy direction as to how Development Plans and Development Management can ensure development does not have a detrimental impact on local air quality.


Contact

Email: ian.mitchell2@gov.scot