Climate Change Act - Section 72: twelfth annual report

Information and conclusions fulfilling our annual reporting requirements on the operation of Section 3F of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

5 Assessment of Progress in Implementing Section 3F

Reporting method

5.1 This section addresses the reporting requirements of Section 73 that relate to the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions policies within local development plans as prescribed by Section 3F. As Section 3F only refers to local development plans, only those plans are considered here. A summary is provided in Table 2.

The local development plan context

5.2 Local development plans are currently produced every five years and are preceded by a number of preparatory stages:

  • public consultation on a main issues report;
  • public consultation on a proposed local development plan;
  • examination of the proposed local development plan by independent reporters within the Scottish Government Department for Planning and Environmental Appeals; and
  • adoption of the local development plan.

5.3 With a small number of exceptions, planning authorities prepare a single local development plan for their area.

5.4 Whilst Scottish Ministers can make representations on proposed plans where they feel there could be improved alignment with Ministerial policies, individual planning authorities are responsible for ensuring plans are legally compliant.

5.5 All current local development plan policies, considered to implement Section 3F, are presented in the Annex to this report. The development plan position is set out below.

5.6 There are 32 council areas in Scotland with planning authorities, and there are a further two national parks that have planning authority powers. Currently 33 out of the 34 planning authorities in Scotland have local development plans in place. One local authority is yet to adopt their first local development plan, however, it has an adopted local plan in place. Table 1 shows the stages in the local development plan cycle, reached by planning authorities as of 31 December 2021. Fifteen planning authorities have now adopted their second local development plan compared to twelve in the previous year. Cairngorms National Park, Renfrewshire Council and South Lanarkshire Council adopted their second local development plan in March, December and April 2021 respectively. Eight local development plans (LDP2) are at the Main Issues Report or Proposed Plan stage.

Table 1. Stage reached in the Local development plan ( LDP) cycle
Local Development Plan 1 Local Development Plan 2
Stage Main Issues Report Proposed Plan Adopted Plan Main Issues Report Proposed Plan Adopted Plan
Number of planning authorities 0 1 33 2 6 15


1. The above figures do not include: East Ayrshire Minerals Local Development Plan, Fife Minerals Local Plan, South Lanarkshire Minerals Local Plan and East Ayrshire Town Centres and Retailing Local Development Plan given that they are topic specific.

2. This table counts only the Highland Council-wide plan, not the three area plans which contain local policies.

3. Plans at the examination stage have been counted as a 'proposed plan'. Proposed plans include City of Edinburgh Council, East Dunbartonshire Council, East Renfrewshire Council, Scottish Borders Council, South Ayrshire Council, West Dunbartonshire Council.

4. Plans reflect the development stage which they have reached as of 31 December 2021.

5.7 Table 2 shows the stages of local development plan preparation reached as of 31 December 2021 and indicates where section 3F has been addressed according to the Scottish Government. It demonstrates that approximately 94% of planning authorities now have a policy in place in their adopted plans which responds to section 3F. All adopted local development plans 2 have a policy which fulfils this requirement.

Table 2. Local Development Plan stages directly addressing section 3F
Local Development Plan 1
Main Issues Report (0) Proposed Plan (1) Adopted Plan (33)
Yes No Yes No Yes No
0 0 1 0 32 1
Local Development Plan 2
Main Issues Report (2) Proposed Plan (6) Adopted Plan (15)
Yes No Yes No Yes No
2 0 6 0 15 0


1. Argyll and Bute Council's adopted local development plan, LDP1, does not have a policy reflecting Section 3F, however there was a policy addressing this in the Council's 2013 supplementary guidance.

2. Plans that have preceded LDP2 are not counted in the LDP1 adopted figures as LDP1 is superseded by LDP2.

Numbers include four LDPs identified as not specifying a proportion of greenhouse gas emission reductions to be achieved but which otherwise addressed Section 3F.

5.8 Table 4 shows the total number of adopted local development plans responding to Section 3F over time.

Table 3. Number of adopted local development plans responding to Section 3F over time
Year 2012/ 2013 2013/ 2014 2014/ 2015 2015/ 2016 2016/ 2017 2017/ 2018 2018/ 2019 2019/ 2020 2020/ 2021 2021
Adopted Policies 4 6 14 20 24 29 32 32 32 32

5.9 The Scottish Government operates a requirement for planning authorities to include relevant policies responding to section 3F within development plans. Tables 3 and 4 demonstrate that this approach is effective as take up continues and remains high.



Back to top