The Local Government and Communities Committee today published its report on the Scottish Government’s plans for the overall development of Scotland to 2030.
The National Planning Framework 2 (NPF2) is a strategic planning framework and includes a list of projects classified as “national developments” – such as the Forth Replacement Crossing, freight transport hubs and airport enhancements. Under the Planning Act 2006, the Parliament had 60 days to examine NPF2 and the Local Government and Communities Committee was responsible for overall scrutiny.
Committee recommendations include:
- The Scottish Government should consider bringing forward publicly funded projects to help the construction industry and engage with the private sector to bring forward privately funded projects.
- There should be further clarity around the funding and timetabling of national developments to ensure these are firm commitments to build and not just aspirations. Given its concerns, the committee will take further evidence on the funding of infrastructure projects.
- The Scottish Government should consider how it can further improve the extent of consultation on the framework particularly so that local communities can be more involved in the process
- There should be improved consultation on the list of national developments and more detail about why candidates for national developments were accepted or rejected
Committee convener Duncan McNeil MSP said: “This is the first time that a national planning framework has been scrutinised by the Scottish Parliament’s committees and while we are supportive of NPF2, the committee has identified areas where we believe lessons can be learned for the future. We intend to consider the final framework and its implementation to ensure our recommendations have been taken onboard.”
The previous National Planning Framework was published in April 2004. The Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 put the Framework on a statutory footing and provided that the Scottish Government should publish a draft for consultation, before laying a proposed framework before Parliament for a period of 60 days.
The National Planning Framework 2: Proposed Framework was published by the Scottish Government on 12 December 2008.
Parliament agreed that, in terms of scrutinising the Proposed Framework, the Local Government and Communities Committee should be the lead committee. The Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee and the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee also considered the Proposed Framework and reported on its impact on issues which fall within their remits such as transport, climate change, the economy and energy. Their reports are appended to the Local Government and Communities Committee report.