|PLANNING AUTHORITIES ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE THIS FRAMEWORK INTO ACCOUNT WHEN PREPARING DEVELOPMENT PLANS AND IT IS A MATERIAL CONSIDERATION IN DETERMINING PLANNING APPLICATIONS.|
1. The first National Planning Framework ( NPF1), published in 2004, set out a strategy for Scotland's development to 2025. The preparation of this second National Planning Framework (npf2) has provided an important vehicle for the national debate about the sort of place we want Scotland to be. It guides Scotland's development to 2030, setting out strategic development priorities to support the Scottish Government's central purpose - sustainable economic growth. The Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 puts this and future iterations of the National Planning Framework on a statutory footing.
2. This Framework will play a key role in co-ordinating policies with a spatial dimension and aligning strategic investment priorities. It takes forward the spatial aspects of the Government Economic Strategy, highlighting the importance of place and identifying priorities for investment to enable each part of the country to play to its strengths. It provides the strategic spatial policy context for decisions and actions by the Government and its agencies. Planning authorities are required to take the Framework into account when preparing development plans and it is a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.
3.NPF2 is concerned with Scotland in its wider context and addresses the major contemporary challenges of global competition, climate change and resource depletion. It is informed by the European Union's territorial agenda, its priorities for promoting economic competitiveness and protecting the environment and its targets for energy supply and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It provides the starting point for collaboration in wider spatial planning initiatives.
4.NPF2 builds on the first National Planning Framework, drawing on the analysis contained in the 2006 Monitoring Report and the views of stakeholders. It identifies key issues and drivers of change, sets out a vision to 2030, and identifies priorities and opportunities for each part of the country in spatial perspectives for the Central Belt, the East Coast, the Highlands and Islands, Ayrshire and the South-West and the South of Scotland.
5. The NPF2 takes forward the spatial aspects of the Scottish Government's policy commitments on sustainable economic growth and climate change, which will see Scotland move towards a low carbon economy. It focuses strongly on priorities for the improvement of infrastructure to support long-term development. For transport infrastructure, it promotes the strategic outcomes set out in the National Transport Strategy and incorporates the findings of the Strategic Transport Projects Review. It identifies strategic priorities for investment in energy and drainage infrastructure and emphasises the priority the Government attaches to the development of a strategic network of waste management installations.
6. The NPF can designate certain developments as national developments and the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedures) (Scotland) Regulations 2008 and Circular 4/2009: Development Management Procedures set out the process for the consideration of such developments. In a statement to Parliament in September 2007, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth set out the criteria which Ministers would use in designating national developments. NPF2 identifies a number of major transport, energy and environmental infrastructure projects which Ministers consider to be essential elements of the strategy for Scotland's long-term development (see Infrastructure chapter) on the basis of an assessment against these criteria.
7. While this is not a spending document, it is closely linked to the Government's Infrastructure Investment Plan and will inform the investment programmes of public agencies and infrastructure providers. It is supported by an action programme, identifying how, when and by which organisations key elements of the strategy will be taken forward.
8. The Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 requires the preparation of a Participation Statement. The scope and content of NPF2 has been widely discussed with stakeholders and the Participation Statement has been regularly updated. It has also been considered by the Scottish Parliament. A report on the extent to which stakeholder engagement has conformed with or gone beyond the requirements of the Participation Statement and a statement detailing changes made in response to the views expressed in Parliament have been laid before the Parliament.
9. This NPF has been subject to Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA). The SEA process has included scoping, an interim assessment of the alternatives considered during strategy development, a fuller assessment of the discussion draft National Planning Framework, and a supplementary assessment of candidate national developments. The Participation Statement and Environmental Report have been placed on the Scottish Government's website.
10. There is a requirement to assess how our policies may impact on different sectors of the population. NPF2 is the spatial expression of established policies which have been subject to Equality Impact Assessment as part of their development. The planning procedures which will apply to projects designated as national developments were subject to Equality Impact Assessment as part of the recent review of Planning Regulations.