The National Planning Framework in Scotland, which sets the context for development planning across the country, is to be scrutinised by four separate Scottish Parliamentary committees.
The third version of the framework, published on 14 January, will be the subject of scrutiny by the Local Government and Regeneration Committee. The Committee will take a strategic overview of the planning process and the Framework as a whole.
A further three of the Parliament’s committees have issued calls for evidence and will look at the impact of the planning framework within their remits.
The Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee will look at planning implications for future onshore wind farm developments and the impact on opportunities to utilise onshore reserves of ‘unconventional’ gas, such as shale gas and coal bed methane.
The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee will consider how it will help deliver a sustainable rural Scotland, Scotland’s climate change targets, the policies and proposals set out in the RPP2 document, and the Scottish Government’s draft Climate Adaptation Programme.
The Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee will consider the planning implications on transport, housing, water services and broadband.
All committees have to conclude their considerations and reported to the Parliament within 60 days. The framework and the Committee’s recommendations will then be debated by the full Parliament.
Convener of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee, Kevin Stewart MSP, said: “The National Planning Framework is at the heart of development in Scotland and given the role it plays in identifying these key strategic priorities it is only right we take an overview to ensure it really is delivering for Scotland.
“Our committee will look at this and Scottish Planning Policy and how they relate to one another as well as looking at whether the procedures around these remain fit for purpose.”
Convener of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Murdo Fraser MSP, said: “A key aim of the National Planning Framework is to allow planning authorities to support the energy sector to make the transition to a low carbon economy.
“Our committee will be examining in detail new restrictions on onshore wind farm development in wild land areas of Scotland and also the impact of planning priorities on emerging opportunities of unconventional gas, such as shale gas.”
Convener of the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee, Maureen Watt MSP, said: “Our committee is responsible for scrutinising Scottish Government policy on the delivery of the infrastructure that forms the foundations of our day to day life: transport systems, the homes we live in, the digital communications we use to connect with others, the water supply we drink from and clean with.
“The decisions taken on strategic development planning priorities will impact upon and influence the development of this infrastructure. As such, they are vital to the economy of Scotland and to the effective running of businesses and homes across Scotland. Our committee is, therefore, looking for views from individuals, organisations and businesses that will help us examine the Scottish Government’s proposals and establish whether they represent the most appropriate development priorities to meet our needs in the coming years.”
Convener of the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee, Rob Gibson MSP, said: “The planning system has a significant impact on climate change and our environment.
“This committee will be looking to make sure that the Scottish Government’s long-term planning ambitions complement and protect Scotland’s environment and contribute to limiting the impact of climate change.”
The review of Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) will be undertaken in tandem with the preparation of the draft NPF3, which is expected to come into force in June. The documents are complementary documents which underpin the Scottish planning system. The purpose of the NPF is to set out where development should take place across Scotland to support the various economic, infrastructural social and environmental objectives of the Scottish Government. The NPF also identifies key strategic infrastructure projects as national developments.