NPF4 has been approved

The revised draft of NPF4 was approved by the Scottish Parliament on 11 January.

NPF4 will be adopted and published by Scottish Ministers on 13 February 2023, meaning that it will be in force and National Planning Framework 3 and Scottish Planning Policy are superceded from that date and time. As made clear in a letter from the Chief Planner (16 Jan 2023), until then the revised draft NPF4 is already a material consideration and that following parliamentary approval significant weight should be given to it in planning decisions.

As we and others have been calling for, Scottish Government have said they will issue advice on transitional arrangements for local development plans (LDPs) before 13 February, which will also cover implementation of housing policies. Guidance on new LDPs will follow in the spring.

It remains to be seen how the new policies in NPF4 are interpreted in practice but the protections, from most types of development, for Green Belts seem reasonable. In the Scottish Parliament debate, Graham Simpson MSP a longtime supporter of Green Belts noted hopefully that the policy 8, the section on Green Belts was “pretty robust”.

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