Edinburgh Briefing – National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4)

Below is a Council briefing in the Draft NPF4 – it is a “is a long-term plan for Scotland that sets out where development and infrastructure is needed”. The briefing considers the impact on Edinburgh.

Once finally approved by the Scottish Parliament the NPF4 will be part of the statutory development plan. That approval is currently scheduled for Summer 2022.

The NPF draft has a very strong focus on the need for planning to address climate change impacts and many of the policy areas and considerations reflect what we have put forward in the proposed City Plan. If approved in this or a similar form, it will support many aspects of the plan at Examination.

In particular, West Edinburgh is no longer classified as a national development for office/business led development and the commentary on it supportive to the City Plan position. Granton is included as a national development and we will need to consider any procedural implications for this. There is support for brownfield development, higher densities, 20 minute neighbourhoods, public transport (including extending mass rapid transit/tram) and active travel, blue and green networks and on measures to reduce car use.

The following is not exhaustive, there will need to be further work including analysing the national policy measures. These are intended to be overarching so that future LDPs do not have to repeat those policies, so it is critical that we are sure those policies are strong enough and comprehensive enough to be effective in supporting LDPs and in making decisions on planning applications.

We also need to consider any content of the draft that City Plan does not address.

Once that work is complete we will bring a proposed response to the draft to Planning Committee in February.


The NPF has 4 main sections:

  1. Spatial Strategy
  2. National Developments
  3. National Planning Policy Handbook
  4. Delivering our Spatial Strategy

There is also a section containing annexes of Outcomes Statement, Housing Numbers and Glossary.

Spatial Strategy
This focuses on creating better places with 4 themes. The strategy sets out that to meet the national net zero target by 2045 significant progress must be made by 2030. It also emphasises the need to invest in nature based solutions to mitigate climate change and biodiversity loss.

Sustainable Places
The strategy is to transform the way we use our land and buildings so that every decision we make contributes to greater sustainability through encouraging low and zero carbon design and energy efficiency, reducing the need to travel unsustainably and diversifying and expanding renewable energy generation.

Liveable Places
The strategy is to create places with good-quality homes close to local facilities and services by applying the concept of 20 minute neighbourhoods.

Productive Places
The strategy is to build a wellbeing economy that benefits everyone and every place, with green investment as a key priority to tackle climate and nature crises. It also recognises the changing nature of the way we work and the need for flexibility to facilitate future business and employment that benefits communities and improves places.

Distinctive Places
The strategy is that nature recovery and connected blue and green infrastructure must be at the heart of all future places along with design quality.

Spatial Strategy Policy Principles

The policies to deliver this placemaking are based on 6 overarching principles.

Compact growth
Limiting urban expansion where brownfield, vacant and derelict land can be used more efficiently. This will safeguard land to provide the services and resources we will need in the future, including carbon storage, flood risk management, green infrastructure and biodiversity. By increasing the density of settlements we will reduce the need to travel unsustainably and strengthen local living.

Local living
We will create networks of 20 minute neighbourhoods to support local liveability, reduce the need to travel unsustainably, promote and facilitate walking and cycling, improve access to services, decentralise energy networks and build local circular economies. As an integral part of this, cleaner, safer and greener places and improved open spaces will build resilience and provide wider benefits for people, health and biodiversity, in a balanced way. Virtual connectivity and active travel links will also be important.

Balanced development
We want to support development across Scotland so people have more choice about where they live, learn and work. This will create opportunities for communities in areas of decline, and manage development more sustainably in areas of high demand. In particular, we wish to enable more people to live and remain in rural and island areas, and to actively transform areas of past decline so that we can make best use of our assets.

Conserving and recycling assets
Scotland has many strengths and each place should be planned in a way that works with its distinctive character and identity. We will protect and enhance the assets of each of our places, leaving a positive legacy for future generations. Our focus is on making productive use of existing buildings, places, infrastructure and services, locking in embedded carbon and minimising waste, and supporting Scotland’s transition to a circular economy. This includes nationally significant sites for investment which are well served by existing infrastructure and sustainable travel modes, and excellent propositions for redevelopment across urban and rural Scotland and the islands.

Urban and rural synergy
Scotland’s urban and rural and island areas, and all of the places in between, can work together and share learning and innovation to achieve better places. Our strategy is for Scotland as a whole, bringing together the contributions of our cities, towns, villages and countryside areas to achieve shared objectives. As part of this, we will improve green infrastructure to bring nature into our towns and cities, connecting people with nature, building resilience and helping our biodiversity to recover and flourish.

Just transition
Meeting our climate ambition will require a rapid transformation across all sectors of our economy and society. We must ensure that, as we reduce our emissions and respond to a changing climate, that journey is fair and creates a better future for everyone – regardless of where they live, what they do, and who they are. The pandemic has demonstrated the capacity of our communities to work together and find their own local solutions to shared challenges. Our strategy builds on this, to ensure local people are more able to shape their places and transition to net zero and environmentally sustainable ways of living.

Spatial Strategy Areas for Action
The strategy considers 5 areas for action, Edinburgh is within the Central Urban Transformation Area – Transforming and pioneering a new era of low carbon urban living. This area broadly covers central Scotland from the Glasgow city region and the Ayrshires in the west to Edinburgh city region in the east, including the Tay cities, the Forth Valley and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

The other areas are: North and West Coastal Innovation; Northern Revitalisation; North East Transition and Southern Sustainability.

Central Urban Transformation:
We will only meet our climate change commitments if we make significant changes to the densely populated central belt of Scotland. Our most urban communities hold the key to reducing emissions from the way we live our lives. We need to work together to decarbonise buildings and transport and tackle congestion, make more efficient use of existing land and buildings, connect to renewable electricity and heat networks and create more inclusive, greener and sustainable places that will stand the test of time.

For Edinburgh, household projections show there will be a continuing demand for more homes. There has been a strong market, high levels of housebuilding and pressure on infrastructure and there is strong economic performance.

For Edinburgh, the default minimum housing land figure has been set at 41,300 as submitted in the response to the relevant consultation, approved by Planning Committee on……….

In this area actions will be to:

  1. pioneer low-carbon, resilient urban living;
  2. reinvent and future-proof city centres;
  3. accelerate urban greening;
  4. rediscover urban coasts and waterfronts;
  5. reuse land and buildings;
  6. invest in net zero housing solutions;
  7. grow a wellbeing economy;
  8. reimagine development on the urban fringe; and
  9. improve urban accessibility

Action 13 Pioneer low-carbon, resilient urban living
This area will require concerted effort to develop a network of 20 minute neighbourhoods, and clusters of communities with fair access to a range of services that support sustainable living. Planning should focus on revitalising cities and towns at scale, supporting a finer grained approach to placemaking, and a more intricate mix of land uses and density. This should incorporate networks of natural spaces and blue and green infrastructure, to create health and wellbeing benefits, increase resilience to climate change and support the growth of green job opportunities. The car-based design of some of our places, including many suburban areas and new towns, mean that a significant shift to a more people centred approach will be required. Planning can help retrofit facilities and services into areas where they are scarce, such as predominantly residential areas, to enable better integrated mixed use areas.

City, town and neighbourhood centres can be at the heart of this if they are planned to strengthen self-sufficiency and bring services and jobs closer to homes. The recommendations of the recent town centre review can be delivered by supporting a wider range of uses and making the most of their assets. Accessibility will be a key part of the transition and will involve investment in infrastructure and services in line with the sustainable travel and investment hierarchies, to improve fair access and reduce carbon emissions. Active travel networks will need to expand to make walking, wheeling and cycling an attractive, convenient, safe, and sustainable choice for everyday travel. There are significant opportunities for investment in heat networks, energy storage and the circular economy to create more sustainable neighbourhoods.

Action 14 Reinvent and future proof city centres
Scotland’s city centres are socially and culturally important, supporting our productivity and stimulating innovation and investment. The pandemic has generated severe impacts and longer-term challenges for our city centres. The City Centre Recovery Taskforce is developing a shared vision for their future and the City Centre Recovery Fund will support their recovery and repurposing. This is a nationally significant opportunity to contribute to Scotland’s economic recovery and to achieve a wellbeing economy.

Edinburgh has similar challenges [to Glasgow] and opportunities for positive change. High interest in investment and associated demand for new homes means that planning will need to help deliver sustainable development that supports the quality of life of existing and future residents. As a capital city with a World Heritage Site at its core, it will be crucial that future development takes into account the capacity of the city itself and its surrounding communities and makes the most of its exceptional heritage assets, places and cultural wealth. The City Centre Transformation Plan supports a move away from a car-based city centre to create a more liveable and attractive place to live, work and visit. The Forth Bridge is also an inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Site, and our rich industrial and cultural heritage remains apparent across the area.

Action 15 Accelerate urban greening
The greening of the built environment, including former industrial areas, is a long-held ambition that we now need to expedite to significantly reduce emissions, adapt to the future impacts of climate change and tackle biodiversity loss. Investment in green infrastructure will support urban sustainability, help to restore biodiversity, contribute to our overall targets for reducing emissions and improve health and wellbeing. By weaving blue and green infrastructure across our urban fabric we can ensure that nature and the outdoors are accessible to everyone, supporting lifelong health and wellbeing and creating places that are more resilient to flooding.

The Central Scotland Green Network will continue to bring together environmental enhancement projects. Initiatives such as the John Muir Pollinator Way demonstrate how nature networks can help restore and better connect biodiversity and enhance green infrastructure at a landscape scale.

Action 16 Rediscover urban coasts and waterfronts
The region’s coasts and firths define the area’s history and shapes its sense of place. There is potential to unlock the strategic importance of coasts, estuary and river corridors for climate mitigation, resilience and positive environmental change. Coastal change will need to be managed to build long term resilience and future-proof our waterfronts. Progress has been made to create long-distance walking and cycling routes and to open up access to waterfront spaces and reclaim them as a resource for people as well as industry. There will be a need to tackle coastal erosion, flood risk and storm surges, and to build in natural solutions which work with the unique biodiversity and landscape character of these important places. These coasts are rich in cultural and natural heritage. Along the Inner Forth various projects provide multiple benefits, including flood management, cultural landscape enhancement, habitat creation, access and tourism. Edinburgh’s waterfront regeneration is ongoing with Granton benefiting from an ambitious masterplan, the tram extension to Leith progressing and potential development at Seafield helping to redefine the city’s relationship with its coastline, reusing existing assets and helping Edinburgh to become a more liveable city. A masterplanned approach to regenerating the Edinburgh Waterfront can take into account opportunities for the Port of Leith to service the offshore energy sector.

Action 17 Reuse land and buildings
A more liveable Central Belt means that we will need to do more to reuse empty buildings and vacant and derelict land, particularly spaces which have not been used for decades and can be accessed by sustainable modes. This will reduce further urban sprawl and improve local environments. Around 40% of Scotland’s vacant and derelict land is concentrated in the Glasgow city region and its redevelopment is a key priority. Edinburgh has committed to building a significant share of future housing development on brownfield sites…

A combination of incentives, investment and policy support for productively reusing brownfield land and buildings at risk will be required to steer development away from greenfield locations. Public sector-led development can shape future markets and deliver development in places where change is needed the most and can deliver multiple benefits. Redevelopment should include, but not be limited to, housing development. By de-risking sites and taking an infrastructure-first approach, this land can help to achieve a better distribution of new homes to meet our future needs. This will also reduce pressure in places where growth is no longer sustainable.

Action 18 Invest in net zero housing solutions
As well as building new homes to net zero standards, more will need to be done to upgrade the existing housing stock to reduce emissions and adapt to future climate impacts. Energy efficiency, sustainable accessibility, zero emissions heating solutions and water management will be key challenges. Areas which are largely residential and car-based could be diversified by supporting local businesses to provide services including leisure, active living, hospitality and retail. There is a particular pressure for affordable housing solutions in the south east of Scotland and there is also an opportunity for future housing development to help reduce emissions. Edinburgh has committed to building affordable homes at scale and will need to work with the region to accommodate wider need and demand in a strategic way. Seven strategic sites, supported through the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, could accommodate up to 45,000 homes and associated economic and employment benefits including: Blindwells, Calderwood, Dunfermline, Edinburgh Waterfront, Shawfair, Tweedbank and Winchburgh. The need for proposals to be supported by low carbon transport solutions, in line with the Infrastructure Investment Plan and National Transport Strategy investment hierarchies and infrastructure first approach, will be critical to their success. The Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Deal identifies infrastructure investment and includes a commitment from partners to put in place a regional developer contributions framework building on work undertaken to look at cross boundary transport challenges. These interventions and commitments, taken with the additional transport investment made through the Deal, will ensure the city region continues to grow and flourish. Regionally significant services including healthcare and social care facilities and investment in the learning estate is also planned to support future growth and sustain the wellbeing of existing, new and expanding communities. Emissions from our homes need to be very substantially reduced – by 2030, they must fall by 68% from 2020 levels.

Engineered solutions to adapt our water and drainage infrastructure will be required in some circumstances, but should support more natural benefits as far as possible. There is scope to continue, and extend, the lessons from the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Plan to future proof infrastructure in support of the long term growth and development of Edinburgh. The Lothian Drainage Partnership is taking this forward with projects emerging within Edinburgh and at the ClimatEvolution Zone in East Lothian.

Action 19 Grow a wellbeing economy
This area has a diverse business base and is a key engine of growth for Scotland as a whole. There are many clusters of sites and businesses which form the basis of regional propositions for investment. In line with our aspirations to build a wellbeing economy, opportunities for investment and development should be designed to maximise economic, social and environmental wellbeing, rather than focusing on growth alone. A planned approach can help to target future development in areas of significant economic disadvantage so that new and better jobs are more fairly distributed to help address national, regional and more localised inequality The pandemic has brought obvious challenges but has also unlocked opportunities to take forward new models of working that could better support our wellbeing and improve our places in the longer term. The continued growth of remote and local working and the creation of hubs within groups of settlements could significantly reduce the need to travel, whilst also helping to grow local businesses and communities. Existing offices have the potential to be repurposed to achieve higher density mixed use neighbourhoods with a lower carbon footprint and require careful planning to ensure future communities are properly supported by appropriate services.

The Edinburgh City region supports investment in significant clusters including the Bioquarter, Mid Fife, Dunfermline, Guardbridge St. Andrews, Galashiels, Cockenzie, Midlothian and the M8 corridor. A strategy for West Edinburgh is emerging which guides a wide range of uses to create a sustainable extension to the city, with added benefit from associated improvements to the quality of place of existing communities. Proposals focus on locating development on and around existing transport corridors and work is ongoing to improve accessibility including the Edinburgh tram extension. Further investment should take into account the impact of new development on potentially compounding existing capacity constraints and congestion, and prioritise sustainable choices.

Action 20 Reimagine development on the urban fringe
Whilst predominantly urban, this part of Scotland benefits from a rich and diverse rural area and there are many areas where town meets countryside. These green areas and natural spaces are key assets, sustaining communities that could become better places to live if we can achieve this in a way that is compatible with our wider aims for climate change, nature restoration and 20 minute neighbourhoods.

Action 21 Improve urban accessibility
A focus on community wealth building, together with growing opportunities for longer term remote working, could address the high levels of transport movement by private car and challenges of congestion and air pollution across the area. Local living, including 20 minute neighbourhoods, will help to minimise future commuting and ensure jobs and income can be spread more evenly across the area. Accessibility and transport affordability can support more resilience which benefits communities who are less connected. By putting in place mass transit systems for Edinburgh through plans to extend the tram network, and for Glasgow including the Glasgow Metro and multi-modal connectivity, we have an opportunity to substantially reduce levels of carbased commuting, congestion and emissions from transport at scale Connections to the rest of the UK will be strengthened in the longer term through high speed rail connectivity, with stations expected in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

National Developments
Eighteen national developments are proposed to support the delivery of our spatial strategy. These national developments range from single large scale projects or collections and networks of several smaller scale proposals. They are also intended to act as exemplars of the place principle and placemaking approaches.

Some of the proposals are Scotland – wide and some area or site specific. Relevant to Edinburgh are:

  1. Central Scotland Green Network This national development is one of Europe’s largest and most ambitious green infrastructure projects. It will play a key role in tackling the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss including by building and strengthening nature networks. A greener approach to development will improve placemaking, can contribute to the roll-out of 20 minute neighbourhoods and will benefit biodiversity connectivity. This has particular relevance in the more urban parts of Scotland where there is pressure for development as well as significant areas requiring regeneration to address past decline and disadvantage. Regeneration, repurposing and reuse of vacant and derelict land should be a priority.
  2. National Walking, Cycling and Wheeling Network This national development facilitates the shift from vehicles to walking, cycling and wheeling for everyday journeys contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport and is highly beneficial for health and wellbeing. The upgrading and provision of additional active travel infrastructure will be fundamental to the development of a sustainable travel network providing access to settlements, key services and amenities, employment and multi-modal hubs. Infrastructure investment should be prioritised for locations where it will achieve our National Transport Strategy 2 priorities and outcomes, to reduce inequalities, take climate action, help deliver a wellbeing economy and to improve health and wellbeing. This will help to deliver great places to live and work.
  3. Urban Mass/Rapid Transit Networks This national development supports low-carbon mass/rapid transit projects for Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. To reduce transport emissions at scale, we will require low-carbon transport solutions for these three major cities that can support transformational reduction in private car use. Phase 1 of the second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) recommended the development of the Glasgow ‘Metro’ and Edinburgh Mass Transit in these cities and their associated regions. In Aberdeen, the North East Bus Alliance has been awarded funding through Transport Scotland’s Bus Partnership to develop the Aberdeen Rapid Transit system identified in the Regional Transport Strategy and being considered in the STPR2. This will support placemaking and deliver improved transport equity across the most densely populated parts of Scotland, improving access to employment and supporting sustainable investment in the longer term.
  4. Urban Sustainable, Blue and Green Drainage Solutions This national development aims to build on the benefits of the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership, to continue investment and extend the approach to the Edinburgh city region.
  5. Circular Economy Materials Management Facilities This national development supports the development of facilities required to achieve a circular economy. This sector will provide a range of business, skills and employment opportunities as part of a just transition to a net zero economy.
  6. Digital Fibre Network This national development supports the continued roll-out of world class broadband across Scotland
  7. High Speed Rail This national development supports the implementation of increased infrastructure to improve rail capacity and connectivity on the main cross-border routes, the east and west coast mainlines. Rail connectivity that can effectively compete with air and road based transport between the major towns and cities in Scotland, England and onward to Europe is an essential part of reducing transport emissions, making best use of the rail network and providing greater connectivity opportunities. There can be significant emissions savings of approximately 75% to be made when freight is transported by rail instead of road.
  8. Edinburgh Waterfront This national development supports the regeneration of strategic sites along the Forth Waterfront in Edinburgh. The waterfront is a strategic asset that contributes to the city’s character and sense of place and includes significant opportunities for a wide range of future developments. Development will include high quality mixeduse proposals that optimise the use of the strategic asset for residential, community, commercial and industrial purposes, including support for off-shore energy relating to port uses. Further cruise activity should take into account the need to manage impacts on transport infrastructure. This will help maintain and grow Edinburgh’s position as a capital city and commercial centre with a high quality and accessible living environment. Development locations and design will need to address future resilience to the risks from climate change, impact on health inequalities, and the potential to incorporate green and blue infrastructure.

National Planning Policy
The national policies set out in NPF4 draft follow the strategy approaches set out above. They are intended to replace Scottish Planning Policy and as part of the statutory development plan would not need to be repeated in future LDPs, though there is scope for further locally based policy which remain compliant.

The detailed policy provisions go further than the main principles set out in summary here and into provisions in line with those principles which can be applied to decision making on planning applications. Further details of and comment on those policy measures will be provided once there has been more time to consider them.

Sustainable Places
Policy 1: Plan-led approach to sustainable development
All local development plans should manage the use and development of land in the long term public interest. This means that new local development plans should seek to achieve Scotland’s national outcomes (within the meaning of Part 1 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Policy 2: Climate emergency
When considering all development proposals significant weight should be given to the Global Climate Emergency

Policy 3: Nature crisis
Development plans and proposals should facilitate biodiversity enhancement, nature recovery and nature restoration across the development plan area

Policy 4: Human rights and equality
Planning should respect, protect and fulfil human rights, seek to eliminate discrimination and promote equality.

Policy 5: Community wealth building
Development plans and proposals should address community wealth building priorities by reflecting a people-centred approach to local economic development. Spatial strategies should support community wealth building; address economic disadvantage and inequality; and provide added social value.

Policy 6: Design, quality and place
Development proposals should be designed to a high quality so that the scale and nature of the development contributes positively to the character and sense of place of the area in which they are to be located.

Liveable Places

Policy 7: Local living
Decision makers can determine what facilities can reasonably be expected to be accessible from homes, taking into account local circumstances, as well as the role of digital connectivity in providing some services remotely.  Local development plans should support the principle of 20 minute neighbourhoods

Policy 8: Infrastructure First
Local Development Plans and delivery programmes should be based on an infrastructure-first approach.

Policy 9: Quality homes
Local development plans should identify a housing target for the area it covers, in the form of a Housing Land Requirement. Representing how much land is required, it should at least meet the 10 year Minimum AllTenure Housing Land Requirement (MATHLR) set out in Annex B. Land should be allocated to meet the Housing Land Requirement in sustainable locations that create quality places for people to live. The location of where new homes are allocated should be consistent with the principles of 20 minute neighbourhoods and an infrastructure-first approach. Development proposals for more than 50 dwellings should be accompanied by a statement of community benefit. Proposals for new homes that improve affordability and choice should be supported.

Proposals for market homes should generally only be supported where a contribution to the provision of affordable homes on a site is at least 25% of the total number of homes. A higher contribution than this benchmark may be sought where justified by evidence of need. The contribution should generally be for serviced land within a site to be made available for affordable housing.

New homes on land not identified for housebuilding in the local development plan should not be supported.

Policy 10: Sustainable transport
Local development plans and proposals should aim to reduce the need to travel unsustainably by prioritising locations for future development. The planning system should ensure that the National Transport Strategy 2 Sustainable Travel and Investment Hierarchies are integrated into the appraisal and assessment of development proposals and decisions in order to make best use of existing infrastructure, and reduce unsustainable travel and transport of goods.

Policy 11: Heat and cooling
Local development plans and proposals should take into account the area’s Local Heat & Energy Efficiency Strategy (LHEES) and areas of heat network potential and any designated heat network zones (HNZ) when allocating land.

Policy 12: Blue and green infrastructure, play and sport
Local development plans and proposals should identify and protect blue and green infrastructure.

Policy 13: Flooding
Local development plans and proposals should strengthen community resilience to the current and future impacts of climate change, including identifying opportunities to implement natural flood risk management and blue green infrastructure. Plans should take into account the probability of flooding from all sources. New development proposals in flood risk areas, or which can impact on flood risk areas, should be avoided. A cautious approach should be taken, regarding the calculated probability of flooding as a best estimate, not a precise forecast.

Policy 14: Health and wellbeing
Local development plans and proposals should aim to create vibrant, healthier and safe places and should seek to tackle health inequalities particularly in places which are experiencing the most disadvantage. The provision of health and social care facilities and infrastructure to meet the needs of the community should be a key consideration.

Policy 15: Safety
Development proposals in the vicinity of majoraccident hazard sites should take into account the potential impacts on the proposal and the major-accident hazard site of being located in proximity to one another.

Productive Places
Policy 16: Business and Employment
Local development plans and proposals should set out proposals to meet requirements for employment land, infrastructure and investment in a way which supports a greener, fairer and more inclusive wellbeing economy.

Policy 17: Tourism
Local development plans and proposals should support the resilience of the tourism sector, including by identifying proposals for tourism development which reflect sector driven tourism strategies.

Policy 18: Culture and creativity
Local development plans and proposals should recognise and support opportunities for jobs and investment in the creative sector, culture, heritage and the arts.

Policy 19: Green Energy
Local development plans and proposals should seek to ensure that an area’s full potential for electricity and heat from renewable sources is achieved. Opportunities for new development, extensions and repowering of existing renewable energy developments should be supported.

Policy 20: Zero Waste
Local development plans should identify appropriate locations for new infrastructure to support the circular economy and meet identified needs in a way that moves waste as high up the waste hierarchy as possible.

Policy 21: Aquaculture
Local development plans should guide new aquaculture development to locations that reflect industry needs and take account of environmental impact, including cumulative impacts that arise from other existing and planned aquaculture developments in the area, and wider marine planning.

Policy 22: Minerals
Local development plans should support the 10-year landbank at all times in the relevant market areas, whilst promoting sustainable resource management, safeguarding important workable mineral resources, which are of economic or conservation value, and take steps to ensure these are not sterilised by other types of development.

Policy 23: Digital Infrastructure
Local development plans should support the delivery of digital infrastructure, particularly in areas with gaps in connectivity and barriers to digital access.

Distinctive Places
Policy 24: Centres
Local development plans should support sustainable futures for city, town and local centres and identify a network of centres. This should reflect the principles of 20 minute neighbourhoods and the town centre vision, and take into account how they are connected by public transport and walking, wheeling and cycling.

Policy 25: Retail
Development proposals for retail development which will generate significant footfall in town centre sites should be supported; edge-of-town centre or commercial centres, should not be supported unless they are explicitly supported by the development plan; out-of-town locations should not be supported.

Policy 26: Town centre first assessment
Development proposals for other uses which will generate significant footfall (or in the case of drive-throughs, a significant number of visitors) including commercial leisure uses, offices, community and cultural facilities and, where appropriate, other public buildings such as libraries, education and healthcare facilities and public spaces where people can gather, should only be considered acceptable in out-of-centre locations if a town-centre first assessment demonstrates that it is appropriate.

Policy 27: Town Centre Living
Town centre living should be encouraged and supported. Planning authorities should seek to provide a proportion of their housing land requirements in city and town centres and be proactive in identifying opportunities.

Policy 28: Historic Assets and Places

Local development plans and their spatial strategies should identify, protect and enhance locally, regionally, nationally and internationally valued historic assets and places.

Policy 29: Urban edges
Local development plans should consider using green belts where appropriate in some of the most accessible or pressured rural or peri-urban areas.

Policy 30: Vacant and Derelict Land
Local development plans should seek to reuse vacant and derelict land and redundant buildings as a priority including in proposals to creatively and sustainably repurpose buildings and structures.

Policy 31: Rural places
Local development plans should set out proposals to support the sustainability and prosperity of rural communities and economies.

Policy 32: Natural Places
Local development plans should identify and protect locally, regionally, nationally and internationally valued natural assets, landscapes, species and habitats.

Policy 33: Soils
Local development plans should protect locally, regionally, nationally and internationally valued soils.

Policy 34: Trees, Woodland and Forestry
Local development plans should identify and protect existing woodland and potential for its enhancement or expansion to avoid habitat fragmentation and improve ecological connectivity, helping to support nature networks. The spatial strategy should identify and set out proposals for the development of forestry and woodlands in their area, in associated Forestry and Woodland Strategies, including their development, protection and enhancement, resilience to climate change, and the expansion of woodlands of a range of types to provide multiple benefits to the physical, cultural, economic, social and environmental characteristics of the area, in accordance with The Right Tree in the Right Place guidance.

Policy 35: Coasts
Local development plan spatial strategies should consider how to adapt coastlines to the impacts of climate change. Plans should recognise that rising sea levels and more extreme weather events resulting from climate change will potentially have a significant impact on coastal and islands areas, and that a precautionary approach to flood risk including by inundation should be taken. An appropriate strategy for development should be set out that reflects the diversity of coastal areas and communities. This should take account of opportunities to use nature-based solutions to improve the resilience of coastal communities and assets

Delivering Our Strategy
Delivering our strategy and realising our collective ambitions requires collaborative action from the public and private sectors and wider communities. Actions will range across different scales and include a mix of strategic and project investments. It will be important to focus implementation and monitoring on delivering strategic actions and key developments.

We expect that our approach to delivery will draw on the following key delivery mechanisms:

  1. Aligning Resources
  2. Infrastructure First
  3. Delivery of National Developments
  4. Development Plan Policy and Regional Spatial Strategies
  5. Local Place Plans
  6. Planning obligations
  7. Land assembly
  8. Masterplan Consent Areas
  9. Investing in the planning service

One thought on “Edinburgh Briefing – National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4)

  1. Remember that 20 minute neighbourhoods means that a 20 minute walk to shops also requires a 20 minute walk back home, possibly carrying heavy shopping.


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