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).

5.0 Significant Environmental Effects of the Draft National Planning Policy

5.1 Introduction

5.1.1 Part 3 of the draft National Planning Framework (NPF4) sets out draft national planning policies ("draft policies") for day to day use: in the preparation of local development plans; local place plans; masterplans and briefs; and for determining the range of planning consents.

5.1.2 Part 3 of the draft NPF4 is to be taken as a whole, and all relevant policies are to be applied to each application. In addition, draft policies 1 – 6 are 'Universal Policies' which are to apply to all planning decisions.

5.1.3 The draft policies are set out under 4 themes of: Sustainable Places, (Universal Policies), Liveable Places, Productive Places, and Distinctive Places. Appendix C sets out the findings of the assessment of the draft policies. The following section considers the cumulative effects of the draft planning policies.

5.2 Cumulative Effects of the Draft Planning Policies

5.2.1 Overall, significant cumulative benefits are considered likely to arise for climatic factors, biodiversity, water, soil, air quality, population and human health, cultural heritage and material assets from the overarching aims of the draft policies. For example, a number of draft policies have the potential to support aligned ambitions, such as continued decarbonisation across sectors, the recovery and restoration of the natural environment and economic, social and environmental wellbeing, and in turn, improved placemaking. There is the potential for mixed impacts to arise on landscape from the combined draft policies. The likely significance of these will be influenced by a number of factors. For example, the siting and design of individual projects can affect the significance of potential impacts at the local level. However, policies individually and in combination will mitigate many of these effects at the plan and project level.

5.2.2 There may also be localised construction and operational implications, for example, from the implementation of technologies to support a transition to net-zero, and potential for land use change implications, such as the loss of soil and habitats, which can be long-term and permanent. This has the potential for mixed or uncertain effects to arise on a number of topics at local level, such as soil, water and air quality, from the combined draft policies. The significance of potential impacts is likely to be influenced by factors such as the scale of uptake and specific technologies employed but this is expected to be managed through the planning process.

5.3 Opportunities for Mitigation and Enhancement

5.3.1 There are opportunities for positive effects to be maximised, where a focus is given at planning and consenting stages to opportunities for multiple benefits to arise. For example, the role of natural solutions in flood risk management and support for transition towards net-zero, which should lead to benefits for not only climate change mitigation and adaptation, but also for biodiversity. Additional benefits should also arise for population and human health through improved air quality and increased resilience to the impacts of climate change, benefiting both physical and mental wellbeing.

5.3.2 Where draft policies support reduced pressure on, and improved sustainability of, natural and built assets, positive impacts should arise for climatic factors, material assets and population and human health. Particularly where this leads to wider environmental benefits such as improved ecosystem health and increased resilience to the impacts of climate change. Furthermore, wider benefits should arise from the focus given to improved placemaking, including through the support for sustainable modes of travel and improved access to key goods and services and high quality open spaces. Where opportunities are taken to align with the overarching aims of the sustainable use of existing assets, benefits should be maximised.



Back to top