Scotland 2045: fourth National Planning Framework - draft: integrated impact assessment - environmental report

Environmental report setting out the findings of the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) undertaken to inform preparation of Scotland's draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4).

Appendix B - Relevant plans, Policies and Strategies (PPS)

Biodiversity, Flora and Fauna

Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994, as amended

Implements Council Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds and 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. Relates to the long term conservation of all species of naturally occurring birds in the wild state across European Member States. Applies to factors with potential to affect birds including human activity leading to the destruction and pollution of habitats. Allows for designation of Special Protection Areas, as part of a coherent ecological network, known as European Sites. Aims to promote the maintenance of biodiversity as part of sustainable development. Notes that land-use planning and development policies should encourage the management of features of the landscape which are of major importance for wild fauna and flora. Also requires an Appropriate Assessment to be made of any plan or programme likely to have a significant effect on the conservation objectives of a designated site.

Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004

Introduced the duty for public bodies to further the conservation of biodiversity, and the requirement for a Scottish Biodiversity Strategy. Also sets the framework designating Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011

Amended in part the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, improving species protection through licensing and control of non-native species amongst other provisions. Outlines the requirement for every public body in Scotland to produce a publicly available report on compliance with the Biodiversity Duty every three years.

UK Biodiversity Action Plan


UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework (2012–2019)

Emphasises the importance of biodiversity and notes the impact of human development and the use of land on the health of ecosystems. Includes the overall goal of conservation and enhancement of biodiversity within the UK, to contribute to the conservation of global biodiversity. Also aims to increase public awareness and involvement in conservation. The UK Biodiversity action plan was replaced in 2012 by the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework. It was developed in response to two main drivers: the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD's) Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its five strategic goals and 20 'Aichi Targets', published in October 2010; and the EU Biodiversity Strategy (EUBS), released in May 2011.

The 2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity


Scottish biodiversity strategy post-2020: statement of intent

The 2020 Challenge is Scotland's response to the UN Aichi Targets for 2020 and the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. The 2020 Challenge supplements the 2004 Scottish Biodiversity Strategy and key aims include preserving and restoring the health of Scotland's ecosystems at a catchment-scale and promoting climate change resilience.

The Environment Strategy for Scotland: vision and outcomes

The Environment Strategy creates an overarching framework for Scotland's existing environmental strategies and plans, including the Climate Change Plan. These are reviewed over time, to reflect international targets and other policy developments. The vision and outcomes set out in the Environment Strategy will help to guide the future development and delivery of these strategies and plans by establishing a long-term direction and shared goals.

Implications for the SEA:

  • The SEA should assess the extent to which the NPF4 will contribute to the protection and enhancement of biodiversity.
  • Emphasises the importance of integrating the findings of the HRA with the SEA.
  • Emphasises the links between human health and biodiversity and consideration of these within the SEA.

Related SEA topics: Direct or indirect effects on air, water and soil quality.

Population and Human Health

The Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012

The Regulations aim to prevent or reduce damage to air, water and land arising from industrial processes, potentially preventing or reducing adverse human health impacts caused by exposure to industrial-related discharges.

Environmental Noise (Scotland) Regulations 2006

Gives effect to provisions in the EU Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/EC) which sets out measures relating to noise pollution and disturbance from vibration. Protection is also afforded within the Environmental Protection Action 1990 at the UK level which introduced methods for mapping noise, plans to address it and requirements for making information available to the public.

A Healthier Future – Scotland's Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan

The Delivery Plan sets out a range of actions that seek to improve the health of Scotland's population, including through the promotion of increasing levels of physical activity.

A More Active Scotland: Scotland's Physical Activity Delivery Plan (2018)

The Plan sets out a commitment to increase physical activity in Scotland. Focus is given to the supporting an increased uptake in active travel, including a commitment to invest in active travel infrastructure.

A Connected Scotland: our strategy for tackling social isolation and loneliness and building stronger social connections

The Scottish Government's first national strategy to tackle social isolation and loneliness and build stronger connections. The role of the transport network in building social connections and importance of physical activity is noted in the Strategy.

Let's get Scotland Walking – The National Walking Strategy

Aims to create a culture of where everyone walks more often as part of their everyday travel and for recreation and well-being, including through a focus on better quality walking environments with attractive, well designed and managed built and natural spaces for everyone.

Housing to 2040

Housing to 2040 sets out a vision for housing in Scotland to 2040 and a route map to get there. It aims to deliver the Scottish Government's ambition for everyone to have a safe, good quality and affordable home that meets their needs in the place they want to be.

Implications for the SEA:

  • The SEA should explore the extent to which the NPF4 will contribute to the population's health and wellbeing in terms of e.g. physical activity, active travel, mental health and wellbeing, community, social inclusion.
  • The SEA should consider the extent to which the NPF4 will contribute to preventing/reducing pollution as well as nuisances such as noise and vibration.
  • Housing is an issue which is relevant to assessing the performance of the NPF4 on population and human health.

Related SEA topics: Many of the issues that affect population and human health have direct or indirect impacts on other SEA topics such as air quality.

Climatic Factors

Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009


Climate Change (Emission Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019

The 2019 Act increases the ambition of Scotland's targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including a target for net-zero emissions by 2045 and interim targets for reductions of 56%, 75% and 90% by 2020, 2030 and 2040 respectively. The 2019 Act also includes a range of measures to improve transparency of the targets, for example basing progress to targets on actual emissions from all sectors of the Scottish economy.

Securing a green recovery on a path to net zero: climate change plan 2018–2032 – update (2020)

The Climate Change Plan 2018-2032 Update sets out actions that will be taken and considered to ensure commitments to climate change targets are met, building on progress to date across a range of sectors, including electricity and transport, which are key sources of emissions and sets out the path to a low carbon economy.

Climate Ready Scotland: Second Scottish Climate Change Adaption Programme: 2019-2024 (2019)

The Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme provides an overarching framework for adaptation to climate change, setting out Scottish Ministers' objectives in relation to adaptation to climate change and their policies and proposals for meeting those objectives, as required by the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

Climate Change Committee: Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk (2021)

The 2021 Risk Assessment outlines the Climate Change Committee's (CCC) view on the key climate change risks and opportunities. It will directly inform the forthcoming statutory Climate Change Risk Assessment set to be published in 2022.

Implications for the SEA:

  • The SEA should focus the assessment on how the NPF4 will effect climatic factors i.e. whether it will have an effect on GHG emissions.
  • The SEA should also consider how the NPF4 will contribute to adaptation to climate change and requirements for long term resilience.

Related SEA topics: Climate change impacts are likely to have a direct or indirect impact on the other SEA topics such as population and human health and air quality.


Air Quality (Scotland) Regulations 2000, as amended

Set objectives for a number of airborne pollutants with implications for human health under the Environment Act 1995.

Air Quality Standards (Scotland) Regulations 2010

Gives effect to provisions in EU Ambient Air Quality Directive (2008/50/EC). Sets limits and targets for a number of pollutants with implications for human health, including CO, oxides of nitrogen, sulphur dioxide, and particulates.

Local Air Quality Management Policy Guidance 2018

Explains the objectives for improving air quality and provides a framework for activities in Local Air Quality Management Area (AQMAs).

Cleaner Air for Scotland 2 - Towards a Better Place for Everyone

A new air quality strategy to replace Cleaner Air for Scotland - The Road to a Healthier Future, sets out the Scottish Government's air quality policy framework for the next five years and a series of actions to deliver further air quality improvements.

Implications for the SEA:

  • The SEA should explore the extent to which NPF4 could help to reduce or may increase emissions of pollutants to air at a national level.
  • The assessment should be cognisant of areas where pollution is already concentrated (AQMAs).
  • Emphasises the links between air quality and human health and consideration of these within the SEA.

Related SEA topics: Air quality can directly or indirectly impact on other SEA topics, such as biodiversity and population and human health.

Water (including marine and coastal)

Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003, as amended


River Basin Management Plans

Gives effect to provisions in the Water Framework Directive and establishes River Basin Management Plans. These plans provide an assessment of the condition of Scotland's water environment, and identify where efforts for protection and improvement must be targeted.

Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011, as amended

The Regulations, more commonly known as the Controlled Activity Regulations, and their further amendments, apply regulatory controls over activities which may affect Scotland's environment.

Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009


Flood Risk Management Plans and Strategies

The Act implements gives effect to provisions in the EU Floods Directive (2007/60/EC). The Directive mandates the creation of flood risk management plans for all inland and coastal areas at risk of flooding, integrating their development and employment with existing River Basin Management Plans. Flood risk management plans are designed to minimise negative impacts due to flooding on a range of receptors, including human health, the environment, and cultural heritage.

Bathing Waters (Scotland) Regulations 2008

Aims to protect and reduce pollution of bathing waters. Makes provisions for identifying and monitoring bathing waters and requires the identification of acceptable quality standards.

Scotland's National Marine Plan (2015)

Covers the management of both Scottish inshore waters (out to 12 nautical miles) and offshore waters (12 to 200 nautical miles). The plan provides direction to a wide range of marine decisions and consents made by public bodies and seeks to promote development that is compatible with the protection and enhancement of the marine environment.

Implications for the SEA:

  • The SEA should assess the effect that the NPF4 could have on the water environment.
  • The SEA should explore the effects that the NPF4 could have on flooding.

Related SEA topics: Water quality and quantity can have a direct or indirect impact on other SEA topics such as biodiversity and population and human health


Scottish Soil Framework 2009

The Framework acknowledges the multiple functions of soils and includes a vision that soils be recognised as a vital part of our economy, environment, and heritage, and be safeguarded for existing and future generations. It notes that while Scotland's soils are generally in good health, they face two significant pressures: climate change and the loss of organic matter, and identifies 13 key soil outcomes, such as protecting soil biodiversity, reducing and remediating soil erosion, and tackling greenhouse gas emissions.

The Framework also considers that improving the availability of soil data and highlighting the knowledge gaps and research needs in Scotland are both important.

Scotland's National Peatland Plan

The Plan sets out a number of targets regarding the protection and restoration of peatland.

Land use - getting the best from our land: strategy 2021 to 2026

The Strategy focuses on land as a key natural asset and recognises that it underpins much of Scotland's economic activity, further noting that the way it is used and managed is therefore of key importance.

Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement

Seeks to inform policy and practice around land issues in Scotland, operating jointly with other relevant strategies and policies.

Implications for the SEA:

  • Key pressures on soil biodiversity are identified as climate change, the loss of organic matter and changes in land use and land management practices.
  • The SEA should explore the effects that the NPF4 may have on soils, including with regard carbon rich soils and peatland, in the context of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Related SEA topics: Loss of soil or poor quality soils can have direct or indirect impacts on other SEA topics such as biodiversity, climatic factors and water quality.

Cultural Heritage and Historic Environment

Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act, 1979, as amended

Provides protection of scheduled monuments and areas of archaeological importance. Sites of national importance can be added to the inventory of historic battlefields or the inventory of gardens and designed landscapes under this legislation. Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for compiling and maintaining the inventories.

Historic Environment Policy for Scotland (HEPS) (2019)

The Historic Environment Policy for Scotland is a policy statement that should be taken into account where decision making affects the historic environment, both at national and local level.

It sets out a series of principles and policies for the recognition, care and sustainable management of the historic environment, and promotes a greater understanding and enjoyment of the historic environment. The policy statement helps to deliver the vision and aims of Our Plan in Time and takes into account principles that the UK and Scottish Governments have agreed to in international and conventions on cultural heritage and landscape.

Our Place in Time – The Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland (2014)

Our Place in Time sets out a 10 year vision for Scotland's historic environment. The vision is founded upon the fundamental aims of understanding, protecting, and valuing our historic environment, ensuring it continues to benefit Scotland's wellbeing through its cultural, social, environmental, and economic contributions.

Historic Environment Scotland's Managing Change in the Historic Environment: Guidance Notes

These set out to advise planning authorities in making decisions on applications for conservation area and listed building consents, and the consideration of planning applications on the potential impacts upon the historic environment and the greater context in which it is found. The guidance notes were developed in line with Scottish Historic Environment Policy and Scottish Planning Policy.

Creating Places: A Policy Statement on Architecture and Place (2013)

The policy statement sets out the value good design can deliver, noting that successful places can unlock opportunities, build vibrant communities and contribute to a flourishing community. The important role of maintaining cultural connections is also noted.

Designing Streets: A Policy Statement for Scotland (2010)

Designing Streets is the first policy statement in Scotland for street design and marks a change in the emphasis of guidance or street design towards place-making and away from a system focused upon the dominance of motor vehicles.

Implications for the SEA:

  • The SEA should consider the impacts of the NPF4 on cultural heritage from a national perspective
  • There is opportunity for the SEA to explore the contribution that the NPF4 will make to a sense of place.

Related SEA topics: The SEA Topics of cultural heritage and landscape are closely linked. Also climate change can have direct or indirect impacts on cultural heritage and the historic environment.

Landscape and Geodiversity

The European Landscape Convention (2000)

The European Landscape Convention strives to promote landscape protection, management, and planning as well as achieve a more concerted approach to addressing landscape issues at the European scale. The Convention presents a highly inclusive definition of landscape, specifying that protection and enhancement activities should apply equally to both "outstanding" as well as less remarkable or degraded landscapes. This definition encompasses natural, rural, urban, and peri-urban landscapes across land, marine, and inland water environments.

National Scenic Areas

National Scenic Areas, are Scottish landscapes designated for their "outstanding scenic value in a national context." The purpose of the designation is to identify our finest scenery and ensure such areas are afforded due consideration and protection within the planning system.

NatureScot Landscape Policy Framework

The Policy Framework sets out an overarching aim for landscapes "to safeguard and enhance the distinct identity, the diverse character and the special qualities of Scotland's landscapes as a whole, so as to ensure tomorrow's landscapes contribute positively to people's environment and are at least as attractive and valued as they are today".

NatureScot Landscape Policy – Wild Land

NatureScot identified 42 areas, where the most extensive areas of high wildness can be found across Scotland's landscapes. This is based on four attributes: perceived naturalness of land cover; ruggedness of the terrain; remoteness from public roads or ferries; and lack of buildings, roads, pylons and modern artefacts. This informed the preparation of the 2014 map of wild land areas.

Wild land is not a statutory designation, however wild land areas as identified on the 2014 NatureScot map are recognised as nationally important in National Planning Framework 3 and Scottish Planning Policy 2014.

Scottish Geodiversity Charter 2018-2023

The Scottish Government supported Scotland's Geodiversity Charter encourages the promotion and management of Scotland's geodiversity and better integration of geodiversity into policy and guidance, consistent with the economic, social, cultural and environmental needs of Scotland. This will help to protect a crucial aspect of our natural heritage and deliver more sustainable management

People, Place and Landscape – A positon statement from NatureScot and Historic Environment Scotland

The position statement sets out the vision and approach of NatureScot and Historic Environment Scotland for managing change in Scotland's landscapes. The Statement includes a shared Vision and Principles that will guide effort for landscape, and identifies key outcomes.

Implications for the SEA:

  • The SEA should explore the effects of the NPF4 on landscape diversity.
  • There is opportunity for the SEA to explore the effects of the NPF4 on landscape including linkages to human health including access, recreation, providing a sense of place.

Related SEA topics: Climate change can have direct or indirect impacts on landscape, cultural heritage, and the historic environment.

Material Assets

Material Assets: Energy

The Scottish Energy Strategy: The Future of Energy in Scotland (2017)

The Scottish Energy Strategy sets out Scottish Government's vision for energy generation and consumption to 2050. The Strategy centres around three themes: meeting our energy supply needs, transforming Scotland's energy use and smart local energy systems.

Energy Efficient Scotland: Route Map (2018)

The route map sets out a vision that: by 2040 out homes and buildings are warmer, greener and more efficient. The route map sets out a 20 year programme of action with two main objectives: removing poor energy efficiency as a driver for fuel poverty and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through more energy efficient buildings and decarbonising the heat supply.

Hydrogen Policy Statement

Sets out a vision for Scotland to become a leading hydrogen nation in the production of reliable, competitive, sustainable hydrogen, securing Scotland's future as a centre of international excellence. Establishing the innovation, skills and supply chain to underpin our energy transition.

Heat in Buildings Strategy - achieving net zero emissions in Scotland's buildings

Building on the policies and actions set out in the Climate Change Plan Update, this Strategy sets out a pathway to zero emissions buildings by 2045 and details a series of near-term actions to put Scotland on a clear path towards this, as well as a range of further, longer-term commitments to accelerate the transformation of the nation's building stock. It sets out the principles to ensure our zero emissions heat delivery programmes support fuel poverty objectives.

Material Assets: Transport

National Transport Strategy 2 (2019)

Scotland's second National Transport Strategy sets out a vision for transport for the next 20 years. Key priorities include the global climate emergency and the role of transport in helping to deliver net-zero emissions by 2045, alongside the role of transport in building a fairer society.

Strategic Transport Projects Review (2008)


Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 (currently under development)

The Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR) sets out a range of projects that aim to improve journey times and connections, reduce emissions and improve quality, accessibility, and affordability, identifying national, land-based transport priorities for the medium to long-term (2032). STPR seeks to compliment transport interventions taken forward at regional and local levels. STPR sets out a tiered approach to transport investment which includes promoting measures that make better use of existing capacity. The Scottish Government has committed to aligning the next review of the STPR and development of STPR2 with the preparation of NPF4, with both being informed by the National Transport Strategy 2.

Rail Enhancements & Capital Investment Strategy (2018)

Sets out the Scottish Governments approach to planning and funding rail projects. It looks beyond the traditional 5-year railway industry planning cycle and takes a strategic approach to all rail capital investments with a particular focus on making best use of the opportunities presented by major renewals.

Delivering the goods – Scotland's rail freight strategy (2016)

Sets out a vision for a competitive, sustainable rail freight sector playing an increasing role in Scotland's economic growth by providing a safer, greener and more efficient way of transporting products and materials. The Strategy notes the role of rail freight in tackling climate change and supporting stronger safer communities.

Material Assets: Forestry

Scotland's Forestry Strategy 2019-2029

The Scottish Forestry Strategy 2019-2029 aims to achieve sustainable development of forests and woodlands, through good management and better integration with other land uses. Priorities include ensuring forests and woodlands are managed sustainably, increasing the adaptability and resilience of forests and woodlands and expanding the area of forests and woodlands, recognising wider land-use objectives. The Strategy sets out a vision of 'In 2070, Scotland will have more forests and woodlands, sustainably managed and better integrated with other land uses. These will provide a more resilient, adaptable resource, with greater natural capital value, that supports a strong economy, a thriving environment, and healthy flourishing communities'.

Material Assets: Waste

Making Things Last: A Circular Economy Strategy for Scotland (2016)

Sets out Scotland's ambitions for changing how waste is seen in our economy. It seeks to reduce waste lost from the economy, and retain the value of materials through repair, reuse, recycling, and remanufacturing via a range of policies and proposals. This is noted as fundamental to helping tackle climate change and to preserve natural capital. Four priorities areas for action are identified in Making Things Last: food and drink and the broader bio-economy, remanufacture, construction and the built environment, and energy infrastructure.

Material Assets: Agriculture/ Rural Development and Miscellaneous

Land use - getting the best from our land: strategy 2021 to 2026

The Land Use Strategy sets out the long term vision for sustainable land use in Scotland, the objectives and key policies for delivery.

Scotland's 10 Year Farmed Fish Health: strategic framework

Aims to plan and respond to new and developing challenges, such as the maintenance of high standards of fish health. It looks to the long-term and continues to evolve as knowledge of fish health challenges and possible mitigation evolves.

Scottish Plant Health Strategy

This strategy sets out the Scottish Government's approach to the protection of the health of plants (agricultural & horticultural crops, plants in parks and gardens, forestry and the natural environment) in Scotland.

Material Assets: Digital/ Media

Realising Scotland's full potential in a digital world: A Digital Strategy for Scotland (2017)

The Strategy is a refresh of the 2011 "Scotland's Digital Future" sets out in action of how the Scottish Government intend to achieve its digital ambition.


Scotland Outlook 2030

Launched in March 2020, with an ambition to grow tourism in a way which has a positive impact on Scotland's communities, businesses and everyone who visits and stays in Scotland. It recognises that the role of tourism has changed as a result of our climate crisis, advances in technology, EU exit and changes in consumer behaviour which is reflected in the demands of today's traveller.

Tourism Scotland 2020

A national tourism strategy, developed by Scottish Tourism Alliance with support from the Scottish Government, aiming to make Scotland a "first-choice destination for a high quality, value for money and memorable customer experience delivered by skilled and passionate people". The mid-term review of Tourism Scotland 2020 identified four main priorities: digital tourism; leadership; quality of customer experience; investment in infrastructure.

Implications for the SEA:

  • The environmental objectives demonstrate strong links to other topics such as population and human health as well as climatic factors.
  • Many objectives focus on improvements to infrastructure and reduction in emissions and this will need to be reflected in the assessment of the NPF4.

Related SEA topics: Changes made to material assets can directly or indirectly impact on other topic areas, such as air quality and population and human health.


A National Mission with Local Impact: Infrastructure Investment Plan for Scotland 2021-22 to 2025-26

The 2021-22 to 2025-26 Infrastructure Investment Plan was published in February 2021. It outlines a coherent, and strategic approach to delivering the National Infrastructure Mission. The Plan demonstrates the vital role infrastructure has to play in helping businesses and communities to adapt and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, as amended

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 was passed by the Scottish Parliament in June 2019. This will determine the future structure of the modernised planning system. The Act includes a broad range of changes to be made across the planning system such as arrangements for the preparation of development plans, proactive master planning, development management procedures, strengthening enforcement, and a focus on improved performance and positive outcomes.

Implications for the SEA:

  • Various environmental topics are highlighted in more overarching legislation. The SEA will need to have cognisance of these such as recreation and linkages to human health and a sense of place.



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