Progress on the Planning (Scotland) Act
2019 has been a busy year on the planning front and there remains, of course, more to come.
At the start of the year the big game in town was the passage of the Planning (Scotland) Bill through Parliament.
This proved to be a contentious seven-month journey, with the Bill finally passing Stage 3 on June 20 after a process which made it one of the most amended in Scottish Parliamentary history.
This was a busy time for Scottish Renewables, with much work undertaken to ensure amendments concerning appeal rights and specific designations were optimised for the development of renewable energy projects.
Now that the Bill has received Royal Assent, work begins on drafting the fourth National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy (or NPF4).
The content of the NPF4 will shape planning policy for years to come and is of crucial importance to Scottish Renewables members. To ensure that the content of the NPF4 recognises the need for further deployment of renewables if Scotland is to meet its net-zero target and address the climate emergency, NPF4 will be a key focus of our policy work over the coming months.
Scottish Government will be publishing details of the NPF4 development process and timeline in the coming weeks; setting out who will be writing the framework, how long that process will take, how it will be consulted on and where the key stakeholder engagement points will be.
We will share these details as soon as they are available.
In addition to supporting member participation in the stakeholder engagement process, the Scottish Renewables team has met regularly with Scottish Government officials and will continue to do so over the coming months to ensure the voice of the renewables industry is influential in the development of the NPF4.
Key to our engagement with members are our Forums – in this case the Planning & Consents Forum – supplemented by Policy Advisory Group meetings. While Forums meet twice a year to discuss the issues that matter to you across our policy and communications work, Policy Advisory Groups bring together a small number of engaged members who are experts in their field to work through one or a small number of specific issues.
On the Planning (Scotland) Act and NPF4 we will be building on a Planning & Consents Policy Advisory Group which was held in March 2019 to produce a Position Paper to set out specifically what members would like to see included in the NPF4, then feeding this into the framework’s development process.
Two key issues to be included in the Position Paper will be:
- Turbine heights and repowering
- Landscape Capacity Studies
We will be holding a Planning & Consents Forum on August 21 to update members on the key provisions of the Planning Act, communicate what we know about the development of NPF4, set out our process for developing the Position Paper and on our advocacy plan for inputting the paper into the NPF4 development process.
In preparation for the Forum we will also be working with members who have legal expertise to examine the Planning (Scotland) Act for any legal implications of which members may not be aware.
August 21’s Forum will be followed by a Planning & Consents Policy Advisory Group where members will be able to take part in a detailed discussion about further developing the asks to be included in the Position Paper.
We’ll also be holding a Planning Seminar in October and are busy working to secure expert speakers for this event. Planning & Consents Forum members will hear of the date and speakers first, so do make sure you’re signed up for the Forum to receive that email.
In 2019, as ever, planning matters are front and centre at Scottish Renewables. Please do get in touch if you’d like to discuss more of our work in this area.
To make sure you’re receiving email updates on all Scottish Renewables’ Forums – including Planning & Consents – and to get invites to Policy Advisory Gorup meetings, change your email and Forum preferences in the My Account section of our website.
- Blog by Morag Watson, Director of Policy