NPF3 and SPP in Practice

Jane Tennant, RTPI Student Member, and Student Representative on the Scottish Young Planners’ Network (SYPN) steering group reviews the West of Scotland Chapter and SYPN joint event in Glasgow in December 2014.

Following the publication of National Planning Framework 3 (NPF3) and Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) in June 2014, Scottish Government has engaged the RTPI Chapter regions across Scotland in discussions on both documents.

Six months have passed since these documents have been published and, as highlighted in the presentation, both NPF3 and SPP focus on sustainable economic growth, low carbon economy, placemaking, and delivery. It was good to hear that the influence of RTPI Scotland was regarded as ‘strong steering’ in relation to the review of these documents.

The presentation was a brief overview of the four themes in NPF3 and how this ties to the SPP – forming an integrated spatial plan and policy framework.

The focus of the evening was on the key changes and what they mean for planning in Scotland, as well as how the Scottish Government is supporting the delivery of the documents. Scottish Government revealed that there is active work going on behind the scenes: monitoring delivery – providing an online action programme for blog style updates; disseminating and discussing implementation; providing targeted advice on key issues – i.e. guidance on ‘net economic benefit’; and engaging with wider initiatives – such as the Cities Alliance, Rural Parliament, and Islands Agenda which ties into the theme of ‘A Successful, Sustainable Place’. There was even mention of NPF 4.

It is good to see a forward thinking and active government, even if it does result in more guidance. When considering the strategic and spatial aims of planning, the Scottish Government recognising the many areas in which planning can achieve better outcomes and better places can only be positive. Hopefully this will continue even in light of recent cabinet and title changes in the latest reshuffle.

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