RTPI Scotland welcomes renewed government focus on planning



A commitment by the Scottish Government to fully involve planners in its drive to deliver a zero carbon target by 2045 has been welcomed by RTPI Scotland.

Craig McLaren

Launching the Programme for Government 2019-20 in Parliament this week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change and securing a positive future for generations to come would be a key focus.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Along with the renewal of the National Planning Framework, our future public infrastructure programme will lay the foundations on which we will build low and zero carbon homes, communities and industries.” 

The document states: “The global climate emergency means that the time is right for wide-ranging debate on more radical planning policy options. Innovation, infrastructure and investment will be needed to transform our cities, towns and rural areas into places that support lower emissions lifestyles and businesses. Planning is a vital tool in leveraging the changes we need to make to achieve our goals.”

Craig McLaren, director of RTPI Scotland, said: “The planning profession is absolutely committed to achieving the government’s target of zero carbon by 2045 and I am delighted that the First Minister has clearly set out the important role it should have in this. Achieving the target means we will need a step-change in how we plan, manage and develop our towns and cities so that they better meet our future needs.

“Planners will need to be front and centre of this and the new Planning Act and the forthcoming National Planning Framework provide fantastic opportunities to explore how best to do it. Planners across the length and breadth of the country look forward to being a part of this.”

According to the government, a draft of the fourth National Planning Framework will be published by next summer and will form part of a wider package to deliver reforms envisaged by the Planning Act 2019. This will include legislation on permitted development rights to support developments such as micro-renewable technologies.

The government has also said it will also launch a programme of digital transformation to make better use of digital technologies and data, including a digital mapping prototype to support co-ordinated and sustainable development.

RTPI Scotland has welcomed other commitments in the Programme for Government including:

  • £500 million in improved bus priority infrastructure to tackle the impacts of congestion on bus services and raise bus usage
  • that from 2024, all new homes must use renewable or low carbon heat, including £30m for renewable heat projects
  • putting the transition to net zero at the heart of the Scottish National Investment Bank’s work
  • establishing four new Green City Region Deals

Meanwhile, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is delighted to announce that HRH The Prince of Wales has agreed to be Patron for a further term.   

RTPI chief executive Victoria Hills said: “As Patron of the RTPI since 1989, His Royal Highness has inspired us with his strong belief and work in the creation of genuinely sustainable and resilient communities both in the UK and internationally.

“As the Institute embarks on its journey to deliver our new corporate strategy to support and champion the planning profession in tackling the many environmental and social challenges ahead, especially those posed by climate change and urban growth, we are privileged to have His Royal Highness’s continued support as Patron.”  

Over the years the RTPI has worked closely with The Prince’s Foundation in projects such as the international Planning for Rapid Urbanization initiative and the Beauty in My Back Yard online resource.



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