Designing for a Changing Climate: Planning Reform Report

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A&DS has been working with the Scottish Government Planning and Architecture Division to explore climate change in relation to place planning and provide insight to inform planning reform. This directly follows on from the pilot project A&DS undertook, which considered a whole place approach to designing for a changing climate.

The aim of this work was to identify and set out key messages on place planning for decarbonisation for future development planning in Scotland, focusing on national, regional and local levels. In doing so, it has reflected on the learning from the pilot project, identifying what the content and process of the new place-based development planning should involve, and highlighting key messages for National Planning Framework 4.  The work with Planning and Architecture Division was undertaken in Autumn 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.  This brought to the forefront the need to support greater localism and carbon conscious places to tackle both climate and health emergencies.

Key Messages

The report produced for the work identifies the following key messages:

  • Shifting Scotland’s reliance on carbon intensive developments, services, and modes of transport, will require a whole place approach on a national scale. NPF 4 must set the right direction to meet Scotland’s carbon reduction targets over the next 10-30 years and national projects should consider the carbon ‘lock in’ effect.
  • Strong place leadership sets the bar for quality, promotes collaboration, innovation and supports long term public interest. There is a vital leadership role for the public sector to work with a range of sectors. The Place Principle should be built into the delivery approach set out in National Planning Framework 4 and national developments should be required to demonstrate this in action.
  • Climate change and place should remain as overarching drivers within national, regional and local development planning.  Plans need to support a combination of measures to reduce, repurpose and absorb carbon and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
  • The national development proposals in National Planning Framework 4 should reflect the ethos of the eight Carbon Conscious Places principles. National Planning Framework 4 needs to articulate the jeopardy on places or proposals not taking a whole place approach to climate change or taking too short-term a view.
  • Early and meaningful collaboration is critical in determining the spatial ambitions and priorities and identifying the right developments, in the right place, contributing to decarbonisation and climate adaptation efforts.
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