APRS Resources

Local Development Plans: Evidence Report Engagement Checklist

Local Development Plans (LDP) help shape and guide decisions about how areas will change in the future, including where and what sort of development or land use change should happen. The lifespan of new LDPs is up to 10 years so getting your community’s views heard early on in the plan process could have a lasting impact. This document gives pointers on input you can give or issues you can highlight in the Local Development Plan evidence report.

Our checklist is based on topics covered in Scotland’s new National Planning Framework 4 and is intended to give an idea of the sort of information you could give the local authority planners who are creating the new LDP for your area. However, what’s most important will depend on where you are, your experience of living there, what you feel about your local area and your ideas on how it could be improved. You can cover as many or as few topics as you like.

In NPF4 the Scottish Government have recognised the impact climate change is already having on Scotland and the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and safeguarding and increasing biodiversity – what is set out in the next LDPs will influence how our everyday surroundings help or hinder nature and our wellbeing over the next few decades.

For more information on the way the LDP process is intended to happen see aprs.scot and look for information on Local Development Plans. More guidance on inputting to later stages of the process will be available in the near future.

  • How sustainable is your community? How much more sustainable could it be?
  • What is stopping it from becoming ‘zero carbon’?
  • Can you access essential facilities locally (eg food, health services, education, green and natural spaces, shopping and banking, and public transport)? What’s missing or difficult to reach?
  • How could public transport be improved?
  • Are there decent options for walking, cycling and wheeling to get places? What stops people from using them?
  • How important is it to you to live in a sustainable community? Highlight this to your local authority.
  • How can the transition to a more sustainable area benefit and involve the local community? Some examples are cleaner air, more green spaces, job creation, and the ability to encourage local living.
  • How important is it to you that we adapt well to the current and future impacts of climate change?
  • Can you identify any sites which would be vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as those at risk of flooding, landslips or storm damage, where development should be avoided or needs to be done differently from in the past?
  • How do we need to alter existing buildings and infrastructure to cope with climate change?
  • Nature-based solutions can help reduce some climate impacts (eg shade trees, slowing water run-off) are there any nearby? Could there be more of these in your area? (Some examples include natural flood defences, wetland regeneration, more woodland, beach dunes etc.) 
  • Do you have any concerns about water management in your area? This could be flooding from any source, fresh water supplies, capacity of wastewater infrastructure etc
  • Which natural areas do you value? Why are they important (to people or nature)? How could they be improved through protection, better management or by connecting them to other green areas as part of a nature network?
  • Are there particular local landscapes that are important to you? Can you think of any ways these could be better managed or protected?
  • Are there sites you know that could be managed for nature – or where new habitats could be created? 
  • Are there rare or priority species in your area? A full list of protected species can be found on the NatureScot website.
  • Is there potential for nature corridors, areas connecting woodland or other natural areas, to be introduced or expanded?
  • Are you aware of any particularly fertile or valued soils locally, such as peatlands, carbon-rich or prime agricultural land, which should be protected from disturbance in the LDP?
  • When new development happens, is nature damaged or has it been protected and restored?
  • Do you think biodiversity is increasing in your area? If not, highlight your concerns. 
  • Can you suggest areas where you think there should be more forestry, woodland or more trees?
  • Are there ancient woodlands, very old trees or trees and hedgerows that are (or could be) important for wildlife locally?
  • Are there any valued historic assets or places in your area which should be recognised and protected in the LDP?
  • Are there any redundant or neglected historic buildings nearby? Could they have a new use in future?
  • How may nearby coasts be adapted to the impacts of climate change (eg rising sea levels and more extreme weather)?
  • Is there a need for coastal defences, primarily nature-based solutions such as sand dunes? Is there a need for hard defences, such as sea walls?
  • A green belt is a designated area of open land which is around, beside, or in an urban area. In a green belt, there is a presumption against development apart from specific uses. New LDPs should review Green Belt boundaries, expanding or reducing them, or can designate new Green Belts. For more information see the APRS Green Belt advice note. 
  • If there is a Green Belt in your area, can you highlight its importance and uses? As well as helping to ensure sustainable land use, Green Belt areas can be used for public recreation and exercise, farming, active travel routes, reducing pollution, and biodiversity conservation (even scrubby, messy areas can be good for wildlife). 
  • Highlight any brownfield sites, including vacant land and derelict buildings, which could be prioritised for development, to help reduce the need for development on greenfield sites.
  • New LDPs should seek to realise the area’s potential for electricity and heat from renewable, low-carbon and zero-emission sources. How might that happen in your area? What are the obstacles and what is the balance with other land use?
  • How can this be done while minimising the impacts of energy developments? These can include soil disturbance, loss of public access to green spaces, impact on wildlife and ecology, and cumulative impact from lots of developments.
  • Are there adequate waste management and recycling facilities in your area, including opportunities for reuse and repair of products and materials?
  • Where can waste infrastructure and facilities go to avoid or minimise impacts on residents and the environment?
  • How can the emissions produced by transport be reduced in your area?
  • Does your area currently have access to public transport, and are there any ways this access can be improved?
  • If there were to be new development in your area can you suggest how to limit any increase in traffic and transport pollution and carbon emissions?
  • Can you access services and facilities easily without a car? Can you suggest ways by which this dependency can be decreased?
  • Highlight the value that outdoor recreation facilities, core paths, and access rights, such as cycle paths and greenways, give to your area. Here you can focus on recreation, active travel, and physical and mental wellbeing benefits. 
  • If there is potential for paths and walking routes to be improved, expanded or connected, highlight where this can happen.
  • Is there sufficient green space for sports, play, and outdoor recreation for all ages in your area? If not, highlight sites or opportunities for this to be improved.
  • Are outdoor recreation areas and play sites as accessible as possible? If not, highlight where there is a need or opportunity for this to be improved.
  • Is there any unused or under-used land that should be recognised and protected as temporary or permanent green space?
  • Is there sufficient health and social care services and infrastructure in the area?
  • Are there sites where hazardous substances are being handled? Are there measures in place to ensure this does not adversely impact the public and the natural environment, with appropriate distances being kept from hazardous sites? If not, highlight this.
  • Is there a high demand for allotments in your area which is not being fulfilled? If so, highlight this and, if possible, identify sites which could be used for this purpose.
  • Are you concerned about air noise or water pollution from development?
  • Is there an opportunity to make improvements to the sustainability of your town centre, or is this area in need of regeneration or investment?
  • Could more people live in the town centre? What are the obstacles?
  • Are there opportunities to regenerate vacant buildings or brownfield sites in town centres for housing and other purposes which would benefit the community?
  • LDPs have to identify land where new housing can be built, in a planned and sustainable way that makes best use of existing infrastructure and facilities. What types of housing are needed in your area?
  • How can we make sure new housing helps tackle fuel poverty and energy use reduction?
  • Are there any previously inhabited areas which are suitable for resettlement?
  • Particularly in rural areas, are there any particular characteristics of the area which you feel should be recognised in the LDP, such as existing patterns of development, pressures, environmental assets, community priorities and economic needs?
  • Is there any potential for any heat networks, where homes and buildings are heated from a central source rather than individual gas boilers, in your local area? 
  • Does the LA prioritise the reuse of existing homes and buildings for housing? What are the obstacles to this?
  • Does your area have sufficient digital infrastructure, including fixed-line and mobile connectivity?
  • In areas with a low or decreasing population, can you identify any opportunities to draw new residents which could be included in the plan?
  • If you can identify any priorities for new infrastructure in your area which would benefit the community, highlight this to your local authority.
  • You can ask if new developments will focus on community wealth-building priorities such as inclusivity, reducing inequality, building community resilience, and bolstering local jobs and supply chains.
  • LDPs can identify locations for tourism development and areas under pressure from tourism. How can sustainable tourism be improved in your area? 
  • Do you have any comments about mining or quarrying in your area?
  • Are there opportunities for sustainable aquaculture and marine industry in your area to ensure a thriving marine ecosystem for future generations? Are there areas where this is currently being done unsustainably?

Scottish Government guidance on local development plans

APRS advice note on the Scottish Planning System

APRS community guidance on LDPs

Our working timeline document, highlighting engagement opportunities in each local authority’s LDP preparation process

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