Purpose of Planning

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 states that the purpose of planning is “to manage the development and use of land in the long term public interest”. Anything which contributes to sustainable development or achieves Scotland’s national outcomes is considered to be in the long term public interest.

National Planning Framework

The National Planning Framework (NPF) is the long-term strategic spatial plan for Scotland. It sets out the main developments which the Scottish Government (SG) wants to see, and where they should take place across Scotland. The current NPF3, published in 2014, can be read here:  National Planning Framework 3

Scottish Planning Policy

Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) sets out the SG’s top-level national planning policies. It contains detailed wording on which types of development and use of land should and should not be permitted. The current SPP, published in 2014 and revised in 2020, can be downloaded from here: Scottish Planning Policy

National Planning Framework 4

The SG is currently working to merge the NPF and SPP into a single National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4), due in 2022. Further information about this process can be found here.

Strategic Development Plans

Strategic Development Plans (SDPs) cover the regions around the four main cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee. These set out general region-wide planning policies on issues that cross Council boundaries, including housing, transport and employment. Information currently available on each of the four plans is as follows:

Local Development Plans

Local Development Plans (LDPs) cover every local planning authority across Scotland. These allocate sites for development and for protection and set out detailed policies to guide planning decisions. Information on each of them can be found at these links:

National Parks

Image copyright Alex Berger

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