Welcome to the February 2020 edition

National Planning Framework 4 – Call for Ideas
The National Planning Framework is Scotland’s national spatial strategy, which sets the overall framework for how and where Scotland will change over the next ten years and specifies a series of National Developments to support that process. It has always been an important document, but is now even more so as the 2019 Planning Act merges it with Scottish Planning Policy and requires more detailed scrutiny by the Scottish Parliament. In January the Scottish Government issued an initial Call for Ideas for the forthcoming NPF4. APRS will be submitting views to this including on Green Belts, National Parks, National Scenic Areas and integration with the Land Use Strategy.
Photo – NPF3 front cover

AGM – Wednesday 27 May, New Lanark, South Lanarkshire
Our AGM this year will be held at the Scottish Wildlife Trust visitor centre by the River Clyde at New Lanark, a World Heritage Site mill village dating from the 18th century. This is your final chance to meet renowned landscape photographer Colin Prior, who is retiring after six years’ service as our President and who will say a few words at the AGM. All APRS members, friends and family are most welcome to attend; please contact the APRS office to book your place.
Photo – New Lanark World Heritage Site

APRS Green Belts Alliance holds first meeting
The first meeting of the new APRS Green Belts Alliance took place in late 2019, with a small number of local Green Belt organisations joining APRS volunteers and staff. We plan to meet again in the first half of 2020. This initiative aims to maintain and improve protection of designated Green Belt areas in Scotland. The Alliance will collectively make the case for stronger policy protection at the national level, encourage local authorities to retain and enhance Green Belt areas and provide a network for advice and support for organisations working to protect their local Green Belts.
One of our agreed priorities for 2020 is to input to the development of NPF4 – see above. Drafting of the Alliance’s response to the current Call for Ideas is under way; if your organisation might wish to support this please get in touch as soon as possible. At the local authority level, the Alliance aspires to respond to every Evidence Report and Draft Local Development Plan (LDP) consultation that covers Green Belt areas.
We would be interested to hear from individuals or organisations either currently involved in trying to protect their Green Belt or with previous relevant experience, who would be interested in being part of the Alliance. Participation could range from attending networking meetings or monitoring LDP policy and land allocation proposals to supporting the Alliance’s calls for national policy changes. For more details please contact Nikki Sinclair on nikki@aprs.scot.
Photo –  APRS members visiting Glasgow Green Belt

Scottish Parliament votes for more National Parks
In a debate on 31 October 2019 to mark the centenary of the 1919 Forestry Act, Members of the Scottish Parliament unanimously agreed to a Labour amendment recognising the contribution that National Parks make to forestry. The relevant extract from the amended motion reads: “the Parliament … believes that new national parks should be designated.” This is highly significant, as it is the first time that the Scottish Parliament has voted for the designation of more National Parks. The Parliament’s Official Report records the full debate and the agreed text of the motion.

Members’ Day – Saturday 12 September, Loch Leven, Perth and Kinross
This year’s Members’ Day will be based at RSPB Scotland’s Loch Leven Nature Reserve visitor centre in Kinross-shire. The day’s activities will focus on how best national and local government can support the sustainability of rural communities.
Photo – Loch Leven Nature Reserve

Have You Got The Bottle? campaign – Final Parliamentary Vote!
In December 2019, the Scottish Government completed its technical consultation on the final regulations for the upcoming deposit return system. We submitted a lengthy response, and while writing it we had several meetings with other stakeholders, to sense check our suggested amendments. We met the Federation of Small Businesses, Scottish Retail Consortium, Coca-Cola, Community Resource Network Scotland, Marine Conservation Society, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Greenpeace and Surfers Against Sewage. Our submission received positive feedback from Scottish Government staff, who said that they recognise the merits of several the changes we suggested.
This consultation process also included an opportunity for us to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s committee for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR). We submitted a written response and worked with other organisations to make contributions. Following our written submission to ECCLR, we were one of only three NGOs invited to give oral evidence. During this session, the Convener gave us numerous opportunities to contribute; we received positive feedback from members of the panel and representatives from industry, and were interviewed by STV immediately afterwards.
The Scottish Government will present a final draft of the regulations to Parliament in the next few weeks. This will contain definitive information about many details of the system, including a confirmed start date. The European Court of Justice requires a 12-month implementation period for industry, once the regulations have been finalised, so the current proposed start date is April 2021. Many industry stakeholders are currently making efforts to delay this start date, and we are working to ensure this doesn’t happen, or at least to minimise any delay.
Photo – DRS regulations front cover

National Parks Support Farming
The principal purpose of a National Park is to care for the special qualities of an area’s landscape – its natural and cultural heritage of places and people.  Some of these special qualities derive from centuries of work by local people – such as farmland, woodlands, towns and villages.  That is why all National Park Authorities put great effort into supporting environmentally-sensitive farming practices in their areas, including through grant schemes, practical support on the ground and arguing at a national level for better rural development programmes.  New research recently published by APRS and the Scottish Campaign for National Parks titled Support for Farming in National Parks provides extensive evidence for this through a series of eight case studies from National Parks across Scotland, Wales and England.

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Please look out for our next Newsletter in May and Bulletin in August

Image copyright Alex Berger

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