Scotland Policy Conferences

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Next steps for planning reform in Scotland - the National Planning Framework, net-zero targets, and adapting regulations in the wake of the pandemic

January 2020

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference examines the future for the planning system in Scotland.

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with a range of key policy officials who are due to attend from The Scottish Government as well as from Transport Scotland and the Geospatial Commission.

The discussion at a glance:

  • the National Planning Framework 4 - developing a NPF4 that will meet Scotland’s infrastructure priorities into the future, including supporting communities across Scotland
  • the Planning Act - assessing implications and next steps, including the areas of funding, support and coordination, as well as for helping to towards the move to net-zero
  • COVID-19 - planning regulations in the wake of the pandemic and the role planning policy can support businesses in adapting to the new normal

The agenda:

  • Next steps for delivering planning reform
  • Adapting planning regulations in the wake of COVID-19 - supporting continued commercial activity, incorporating innovative design, and assessing the changes that are needed to adapt to the new normal
  • The role of planning in meeting the net-zero target - delivering sustainable design, priorities for investment, and redesigning current structures to meet modern standards
  • Priorities for the shape and delivery of NPF4 - meeting Scotland’s infrastructure priorities and adapting to regional needs

Key areas for discussion:

The Planning (Scotland) Act

  • key aims - the way forward for strengthening the planning system so that it contributes more to economic growth, housing and infrastructure delivery and community empowerment
  • local place plans - implications of the introduction of plans drawn up by community bodies which have to be taken into account by local authorities when they are taking planning decisions:
    • local authorities - the likely impact of the plans system on LAs and the decision making process
    • who else will be involved - which groups are likely to gain influence from the introduction of local place plans amidst concerns that the Act will lessen community empowerment and public trust in the planning system because of the removal of the right to appeal 
  • climate change - the role of the planning system in helping to accelerate the reduction in emissions:
    • planning permission - implications of Scottish Government proposals for developments that will radically help address climate change not to require permission, including electric vehicle charging and local renewable energy
    • sustainable design - how it can be encouraged, including older structures being redesigned to meet modern standards

National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4)

  • scope and ambition - with The Scottish Government suggesting that NPF4 will be radically different, discussing how it will expand on the current framework and what more it might advocate
  • stakeholder input - assessing ideas following National Planning Framework 4 - call for ideas: Key Agencies Group response as The Scottish Government develops the Framework for presentation in draft form to The Scottish Parliament this Autumn
  • infrastructure - how best to support Scotland’s infrastructure plans with:
    • a spatial plan for Scotland - which will look ahead through to 2050, to be developed as part of the new Framework
    • an infrastructure levy on land - the Planning Act making provision for its introduction use payable to local authorities - how to successfully introduce the levy following concerns surrounding:
      • its complexity for LAs in terms of rollout
      • the potentially limited funds it will raise following the introduction of a similar system in England
  • rural planning policy - assessing Rural Planning Policy to 2050: research findings for the Scottish Government, which will inform NPF4, and
    • its call for the needs of different areas to be taken into account
    • the particular planning challenges identified in rural Scotland such as demographic trends, pressure on the rural economy, climate change, and the supply of land for development

The timing and context for the discussion:

  • the National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) - following the passage of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, and with The Scottish Government position statement which sets out their emerging thinking on spatial priorities and potential changes to national policies, including:
    • broadening the mix of uses in town centres
    • requiring investment to contribute to social and environmental value
    • taking a longer-term approach to the supply of effective housing land
  • draft NPF4 to be presented to The Scottish Parliament in Autumn 2021, with the final adoption of NPF4 now expected in the spring of 2022
  • recent government update to the Climate Change Plan - including £50m for a five-year programme to bring vacant and derelict land back into use, and a plan for 1m zero-emission homes by 2030
  • COVID-19 - the introduction of interim measures during the pandemic
  • Land and property taxation in Scotland: Initial scoping of options for reform - Scottish Land Commission report identifying ways in which tax levers could bring about outcomes in areas such as tackling inequalities, regeneration and active land use
  • Transforming Places Together: digital strategy for planning - The Scottish Government due to commence planning for five-year digital transformation programme
  • Scottish Planning Policy finalised amendments - government response to consultation, including decisions to reword the ‘presumption in favour of development’
  • recent Planning obligations recommendations - from the Law Society of Scotland’s Planning Law Committee for The Scottish Government to make amendments to planning policy to improve the efficiency and transparency of the process
  • building regulations - reported concerns from some architects in Scotland regarding the UK Internal Market Bill, and the possible implications for aligning building regulations in Scotland with the rest of the UK

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from The Scottish Government; Transport Scotland; and the Geospatial Commission.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles