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by Louise Wilson
30 March 2022
MSPs urge government to fully resource planning departments

MSPs urge government to fully resource planning departments

Planning departments may lack the resources to properly implement the “transformational” new policy framework, MSPs have warned.

This could limit planning departments’ ability to meet the ambitions of the plan, which aims to overhaul how decisions are made in Scotland.

The draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) was published in November 2021, with a mandatory 120 day scrutiny period.

Holyrood’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee has been taking evidence on the policy.

Convener Ariane Burgess said while it could have a “significant impact” on planning policy, it was unclear whether the government would sufficiently support authorities to deliver it.

She said: “In order to reach its full potential the Scottish Government must reflect on the concerns we heard about whether planning departments are adequately resourced to deliver on these policies and really deliver impactful change.

“In our report, we make it clear that there are questions to be answered about the National Planning Framework and we would ask that the Scottish Government listens carefully to the issues we have raised about resources, clarity and purpose of what is billed as one of its flagship policies.”

The NPF4 will guide planning decisions over the long-term, with a particular focus on reaching net-zero by 2045.

It also intends to embed a national spatial strategy to ensure decisions taking by planning authorities deliver sustainable, liveable and distinctive places which promote inclusive growth.

But the committee said there was a lack of clarity on how the policy relates to climate change.

MSPs urged the government to ensure there was time to scrutinise NPF4 in its final form.

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