Government planning reforms for 'greener Scotland' come into force

Planning applications for the next decade will be assessed against the new policy.

Scottish Government planning reforms for ‘greener’ country come into force iStock

Planning reforms which ministers say will help build a “fairer, greener Scotland” have come into force.

The Scottish Government said that projects returning former industrial or derelict sites to community use will be more likely to be approved following the introduction of the fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4).

The policy, against which planning applications will be assessed for the next decade, comes into effect on Monday, February 13.

Local authorities are encouraged to support proposals for development that will help restore green spaces as part of the policy.

As NPF4 came into force, Scotland’s planning minister, Tom Arthur, visited the £4.2m Lochshore development at the former Glengarnock Steelworks in Ayrshire on Monday to see progress on transforming a former heavy industry site into parkland for the benefit of local people and visitors.

He said: “The Scottish Government has supported this transformation from a derelict site which was holding back development in North Ayrshire into a significant new visitor attraction and sports facility.

“Our reforms represent a turning point for planning, a strong signal of support for healthier communities and prosperous local economies.

“They can help promote local renewal at sites across Scotland in line with the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

“This framework gives local planners across the country the green light to build the fairer, greener Scotland we want to see to tackle climate change and benefit future generations.”

Glengarnock Iron and Steelworks produced rails for the growing railway network from 1843 and closed in 1985.

The site covers around 250 hectares, including Kilbirnie Loch, and is being restored to include parkland and new facilities for a local rugby club and community sports.

The Scottish Government supported the development through its Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

North Ayrshire Council provost Anthea Dickson said: “Since officially opening late last year, the Lochshore Park Hub has already proven to be a popular destination for local residents and visitors alike.

“Not only is it an attractive, vibrant facility but, as we move on to the next stages of its development, the benefits it provides will become even greater.”

Policies in NPF4 will also enable more renewable energy generation, outside National Parks and National Scenic Areas, to support the transition away from reliance on fossil fuels.

The framework also aims to help regenerate city and town centres to help them adapt to economic change while restricting some out-of-town retail and drive-through developments.

It will also support the delivery of good-quality, affordable homes in neighbourhoods where people can easily access shops, schools and workplaces within a 20-minute walk or cycle ride.

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