Drive-thrus could be 'banned' under plans to tackle climate change

The aim of the framework is to promote developments which would reduce emissions.

Drive-thrus and retail parks could be banned in Scotland under new plans to tackle climate change iStock

Drive-thrus and retail parks could be outlawed in Scotland under plans to tackle climate change.

Proposals to curb the number of shopping centres located on the outskirts of cities are among those being considered in an effort to driver footfall back into town centres.

It is hoped the policy will help revitalise ailing retail thoroughfares and cut car usage in favour of shops that can be accessed by more sustainable modes of transport.

The Scottish Government set out the plans in the revised draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4), which was published on Tuesday.

The aim is to promote developments which would reduce emissions, and a key goal is to enable renewable electricity generation outside national parks and scenic areas.

The most restrictive approaches would be taken against out of town retail and drive-thru developments, recommending a “town centre first” approach.

Farm shops, craft shops and service stations are stated as possible exemptions to this rule.

The draft document states that some types of development would not be supported if they “undermine the character and amenity of the area or the health and wellbeing of communities”.

The Scottish Government has set a target of reducing the total amount of car kilometres travelled by 20% by 2030.

Planning minister Tom Arthur said: “The window of opportunity to act to reduce emissions and adapt to already locked in changes is narrowing. Our statutory and moral obligation to tackle climate change means change is necessary and urgent.

“This final version of the framework makes clear that we won’t compromise on climate change. It also clarifies what is to be delivered, and how. And it is now clear through the weighting to be applied to different policies, that the climate and nature crises are the priority.  

“It is timely that we have tabled final proposals during COP27, as we set out to do when Glasgow hosted COP26 last year. This shows that Scotland’s ambition and commitment to delivering on international calls for action is unwavering.

“There is now a clear expectation of the role that planning must play in delivering the expansion of renewable energy needed to realise the just transition from reliance on fossil fuels.

“This Framework creates the foundation upon which to build the fairer, greener Scotland we want to see for the benefit of future generations.”

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