Scotland 2045 - fourth National Planning Framework - draft - national developments: assessment report

Report of assessment for the draft national developments as part of Scotland 2045 Our Fourth National Planning Framework.

5. Assessment Process

5.1 Suggested national developments that were considered similar were grouped together for assessment purposes. The groupings are set out in the annexes. Otherwise assessment was based on each individual suggestion. The assessment process was iterative and informed by emerging information from relevant impact assessments. The assessment was also updated as necessary in light of responses to the Position Statement, and Indicative Regional Spatial Strategies.

5.2 The criteria assessment was high level and judgement based using published criteria. Information on the full range of Impact Assessments which have informed the preparation of NPF4, and on the related assessment findings, are set out in the NPF4: Integrated Impact Assessment reports, available online.

5.3 The published criteria were:

  • Climate Change: The development will help to reduce emissions, contributing to Scotland's target of net zero emissions by 2045, will be emissions neutral, or emissions negative.
  • People: The development will support the health, wellbeing, sustainability and quality of life of our current and future population.
  • Inclusive Growth: The development will contribute to sustainable economic growth that helps to reduce poverty and inequality across Scotland.
  • Place: The development will protect or enhance the quality of a place or improve biodiversity.

5.4 These criteria were published in early 2020 to support people in submitting suggestions and to structure the assessment of those suggestions in advance of the spatial strategy emerging. They are strongly related to the objectives set out in the draft NPF4 of creating: sustainable places, liveable places, productive places, and distinctive places. They also correspond with similar priorities that shaped the Infrastructure Investment Plan and second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2).

5.5 Suggestions need not meet all the criteria to be included as a proposed national development in the draft NPF4. It is, however, important that national developments have some identifiable development to occur, as their purpose is to support the process of gaining development consent.

5.6 Suggestions which were not considered to perform well in relation to the criteria or that were less focused on development were not considered further for national development status, but did inform development of the wider strategy as appropriate. For the remainder, having assessed the suggestions in relation to all of the above criteria, they were further considered in relation to the emerging spatial strategy and objectives that were initially set out in the NPF4 Position Statement and subsequently developed. This enabled identification of those suggestions more or less likely to form national developments in the draft NPF4.

5.7 As the draft spatial strategy was developed, the national developments were created and refined in relation to it. The proposed national developments in the draft NPF4 are considered to be those that will help deliver the spatial strategy to a degree that makes the development of more than local or regional significance. The proposed national developments in draft NPF4 are set out in Annex A.

5.8 Three categories emerged from the assessment of suggested national developments:

  • Suggestions contributing to the proposed national developments (Annex B) are considered to help deliver the spatial strategy and objectives of draft NPF4 as set out above. It is important to note that commonly, suggestions have been taken forward in part rather than wholly, as can be seen in Annex A and the draft NPF4.
  • Suggestions with potential but not contributing to the proposed national developments (Annex C), were those considered appropriate in relation to the criteria and with a degree of consistency with the spatial strategy, but which may have sub-national impact and are considered to be more appropriately supported by the broader spatial strategy.
  • Suggestions less well aligned to the criteria or spatial strategy, or that lack clear development, or are of a sub-national scale, or where consents are largely in place or construction advanced, were not thought to be suitable for national development status (Annex D).

5.9 In Annexes B to D, overall positive and negative effects are reported for the criteria as far as possible. Commonly, the suggestions are likely to result in new emissions related to development construction or use. To avoid duplication this has not generally been reported separately in the annexes. Annexes B to D also show where suggestions are grouped or treated individually, by listing suggestions received during the call for ideas and in response to the position statement. The latter also includes suggestions received through the Indicative Regional Spatial Strategy process.

5.10 It is a legislative requirement to assess the likely impact of each national development's lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions on achieving national greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. We commissioned independent consultants to undertake this assessment. The findings of this assessment are summarised in the draft NPF4 and have also been taken into account in the draft NPF4 Integrated Impact Assessment.

5.11 The iterative process means that the proposed national developments in the draft NPF4 reflect the suggestions received and this may be in whole or in part.



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