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.

7 Assessment of Effectiveness of Section 3F in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Developments and Assessment of the Continuing Need for Section 3F

7.1 This section assesses the reporting requirements of Section 73(1) which relate to the effectiveness of Section 3F in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and Section 73(2) on the ongoing requirement for Section 3F.

7.2 There are two key approaches to addressing Section 3F. The first is that low and zero-carbon generating technology is used to create emissions savings that help the building to meet building regulations. The second approach is to use low and zero-carbon energy generating technology to create emissions savings in addition to meeting the minimum standards set out in building regulations. These approaches are referred to as Type 1 and Type 2 respectively in the following paragraph.

7.3 Table 6 shows the breakdown of adopted local development plans per policy type as described above. A substantial majority of local development plan policies which include 3F have a Type 1 policy. The remaining plans take a Type 2 approach.

Table 4. Adopted local development plan Section 3F policy types*
Type 1 Type 2
29 3


* The two remaining LDPs not addressed above are those by Argyll & Bute Council which has their 3F policy in supplementary guidance, and North Lanarkshire Council, which has not yet adopted its LDP1.

7.4 We do not believe the above information alters the 2016 University of Dundee research finding that building standards are the primary driver for reducing emissions from buildings.

7.5 As outlined in the Eighth Annual Report on the Operation of Section 72 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, responses to the consultation 'Places, People and Planning'[23] included responses to a question about the removal of Section 3F which were subject to independent analysis.[24]

7.6 The Scottish Government's Places, People and Planning Position Statement[25] (2017) noted general support for the removal of Section 3F as well as concerns that it's removal is inconsistent with the aspirations of the emerging then Climate Change Plan. The Position Statement concluded that it was not the Scottish Government's intention to progress removal of Section 3F through the Planning Bill given the commitment to climate change and the need for every policy area to contribute to reducing emissions.

7.7 This report recognises that the changes planned in building and heat standards may at some point mean that the Section 3F may not be required, but at this time does not suggest that Section 3F should be withdrawn.

7.8 The planning system is already bound by law to contribute to sustainable development in the round. The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 includes six outcomes for the National Planning Framework, one of which is meeting greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets arising from the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. The draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) was laid before Parliament in November 2021. Alongside Parliamentary scrutiny of the draft, we are running a public consultation, supported by an extensive engagement programme, and comments are invited by 31 March 2022. Draft NPF4 sets out how our approach to planning and development will help achieve a net zero, sustainable Scotland by 2045. The refocusing on net zero is supported by radically improved draft planning policies including: a requirement to give significant weight to the Global Climate Emergency in plans and decisions; enabling the infrastructure we will need including green energy, heat networks, facilities for a circular economy and sustainable transport; promoting local liveability through 20 minute neighbourhoods; and not supporting peat of fossil fuel extraction other than in exceptional circumstances. Following the consultation and scrutiny on draft NPF4, we will consider the responses received and any appropriate amendments before presenting a final draft to the Scottish Parliament for its approval, in advance of adoption by the Scottish Ministers.



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