National developments - outcomes
6.1 We have identified 14 national developments that are needed to help to deliver our spatial strategy. Whilst national development status establishes the need for a project, it does not grant development consent. Planning permission and any other necessary assessments and consents will still be required at the consenting stage. Mitigation set out in the Action Programme should inform subsequent planning processes and be applied as appropriate to avoid or reduce environmental effects and demonstrate no adverse effects on the integrity of European protected sites.
6.2 The detailed description of the components of each national development in Annex A will assist planning and other consenting authorities in determining whether national development status applies to a particular proposal.
6.3 National developments will be delivered by a range of public and private sector organisations, and inclusion in NPF3 does not imply funding on the part of the Scottish Government or its agencies. However, to support their delivery, priorities identified in NPF3 will be taken into account when future spending programmes are developed or reviewed.
6.4 Our strategy for a successful, sustainable place highlights the particular scope for the cities network to progress our economic agenda. We need to create opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, including areas which have, in the past, experienced decline. To support this, we believe there is a need for two national developments to be taken forward:
1. Ravenscraig is one of the largest areas of vacant and derelict land in Europe. National development status will give this project renewed impetus, within the lifetime of NPF3. Redevelopment of this site for a range of uses will make a significant contribution to addressing concentrations of vacant and derelict land in Central Scotland. A masterplanned approach provides an opportunity to build in low carbon and environmental infrastructure, including heat networks, zero carbon buildings, digital connectivity, sustainable drainage solutions and open space. We expect the outcome to be a sustainable settlement for the 21st century, with a new town centre, jobs, facilities and homes, and sustainable transport connections. This will deliver a high quality of life and access to opportunities for new residents and nearby communities alike.
2. Dundee Waterfront demonstrates the outcomes that city planning can achieve when it is ambitious and well executed. This development is progressing rapidly. Planning authorities across the country can look to it as an example of effective delivery. Plans for the waterfront support several of our objectives, including: regeneration, high quality placemaking, improvements to the public realm, better connections, and support for the low carbon economy. We look forward to seeing further significant progress within the lifetime of NPF3.
6.5 Our strategy for a low carbon place reflects the significant opportunities for growth arising from our natural energy resources. To achieve our ambition, we need a range of infrastructure, including new developments and refurbishment or enhancement of existing facilities. Delivery will be assisted by three national developments:
3. A Carbon Capture and Storage ( CCS) Network and Thermal Generation is required to maintain the 2.5 GW of thermal generation we require, whilst also reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector. This national development reflects the opportunity to provide this at existing sites, specifically Longannet and Cockenzie. In addition, proposals for the refurbishment of a gas-fired power station at Peterhead, a new coal-fired power station with CCS at Grangemouth and extension to the existing pipeline to St. Fergus are expected to come forward within the lifetime of NPF3. This national development aims to establish Scotland as a centre of expertise in CCS technology, maintain energy security and diversify the overall energy mix.
4. An Enhanced High Voltage Energy Transmission Network is needed to facilitate renewable electricity development and its export. The specific projects required for this network are set out in the Electricity Networks Strategy Group, and will continue to evolve as new opportunities emerge. Key connections include links to Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, and interconnectors to emerging international grid networks. Improvements to the distribution network are also important to many remote rural areas. We support the provision of new infrastructure, whilst acknowledging that full consideration of routes and development components will be required at the consenting stage. The map of national developments provides an indicative picture of key electricity grid upgrades, although these may change in the future.
As part of this national development, we want to see planning enabling development of onshore links to support offshore renewable energy development. A strategy for the marine grid, connecting with the onshore network, will help to provide greater clarity on the offshore projects required.
5. Pumped hydroelectric storage at existing and new sites for hydro electricity generation is needed, to support our security of energy supplies, diversity of supplies and to reduce carbon emissions. This will help to balance electricity supply and demand when we have a much greater proportion of electricity from renewable energy technologies, providing a means to manage more intermittent electricity generation from those sources. During the lifetime of NPF3, we particularly support development at Cruachan in Argyll, a nationally important pumped storage facility with significant potential for enhanced capacity.
6.6 Our strategy for a natural, resilient place aims to evolve our approach to environmental stewardship, enhance ecosystem services and adapt to the growing impact of climate change. As well as protecting existing assets, our approach emphasizes the importance of the environment for people, and the need to prioritise environmental enhancement in places where past activity has impacted on landscape and ecological quality.
6. The Central Scotland Green Network remains a national priority. This densely- populated area is rich in cultural, industrial and natural assets. However, in some places past land use has left a legacy of disused land, poor quality greenspace and fragmented habitats. Here, a step change in environmental quality is required to address disadvantage and attract investment, whilst sustaining and enhancing biodiversity, landscape quality and wider ecosystems. Elsewhere, the challenge is to maintain the existing quality of place whilst delivering development in areas of particular pressure. This initiative is now well established, and in the coming years we believe that the priorities for the lead organisations should include promoting active travel, addressing vacant and derelict land and focusing action in disadvantaged areas, to maximise community and health benefits. We expect work to gather further momentum during the lifetime of NPF3. A variety of developments in Central Scotland will contribute to the network. Benefits will also emerge from links with the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership, major area and canal-led regeneration projects and catchment-scale water management planning.
7. The Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership is a nationally significant exemplar of catchment-scale water and drainage infrastructure planning. This project is needed to better service existing communities, unlock potential development sites and to build greater resilience to long-term climate change. Further key projects will be delivered within the lifetime of NPF3, ensuring that aspirations for regeneration and growth are supported by improved infrastructure capacity.
8. A National Long Distance Cycling and Walking Network is needed to enhance visitor and recreation experiences, as well as ensuring that Scotland's population has better access to the outdoors for health and well-being. Making better links between existing routes will improve connections between urban and rural, and inland and coastal areas. Whilst it has significant potential as a tourism resource, we also believe that this network can support active travel and contribute to health and well-being. The development should focus on making best use of existing path networks - Scotland's Great Trails, the National Cycling Network and the Scottish Canal Network. It should seek to close key gaps, upgrade connecting routes, build on local core path networks, and link with public transport. Other proposals to strengthen this network over this period do not need planning permission to be implemented but form part of a wider strategy to help achieve the vision for the national network over a 20 year period. A coherent plan for the network will be developed by key partners, led by Scottish Natural Heritage, immediately after adoption of NPF3. The national development description shows the priority 5 year projects within the context of the wider strategy.
6.7 Finally, our strategy for a connected place focuses on improving our key gateways and international transport connections, improving links within Scotland and progressively decarbonising transport networks. To complement ongoing investment programmes that support improvements to road and rail infrastructure, we believe that the following key projects are of national significance.
9. High Speed Rail is needed to improve our connection to the rest of the UK and Europe, and to strengthen links between our cities. We are assessing the case for bringing forward a link between Edinburgh and Glasgow in anticipation of the subsequent link to the rest of the UK. This would support economic growth by improving journey times and release wider capacity on Scotland's rail network. The routes for both elements of this project are yet to be defined, but further detail will become available during the lifetime of NPF3. The Edinburgh to Glasgow connection is programmed for delivery by the mid 2020s.
10. Strategic Airport Enhancements are vital to support the role of our main airports as gateways to Scotland. Lifeline air links to remote rural communities are also an essential part of our transport infrastructure. This national development includes enhancements of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Prestwick Airports. National development status also reflects the role of airports as hubs for wider investment and business development. Close to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Prestwick Airports there are significant opportunities for business development as an associated land use. We expect to see further progress on delivery of airport masterplans during the lifetime of NPF3.
11. Grangemouth Investment Zone is a nationally-significant site for industry and freight. There is a need for further upgrading of freight-handling facilities to enhance business activity on the site, flood defences to improve the resilience of the site and to protect its industrial use, and improve transport links to assist with logistics and minimise the impact of industrial traffic on the surrounding community. During the lifetime of NPF3 we expect proposals to progress with additional funding having been made available through Falkirk Council's Tax Incremental Financing scheme. Continued partnership working will support delivery and help to manage impacts on the local community and sensitive environment of the Forth Estuary.
12. Additional Freight Capacity on the Forth is needed because of the strategic importance of the Forth in relation to heavily used North Sea freight shipping routes. In the short term, we expect to see proposals at Rosyth progress through the marine consenting process. Proposals for development at other ports may come forward as economic recovery progresses.
13. Aberdeen Harbour is a nationally-important facility which supports the oil and gas sector, provides international and lifeline connections and makes a significant contribution to the wider economy of the north east. Expansion of the harbour is required to address current capacity constraints, and to consolidate and expand its role. We expect development proposals for this to come forward in the lifetime of NPF3, including new harbour facilities and onshore transport links.
14. A Digital Fibre Network will ensure that we realise our ambition for world-class connectivity across Scotland. This national development focuses on plans for a fibre network to connect our most remote rural communities. This will strengthen the resilience of these communities, and assist projects that play a key role in supporting sustainable economic growth. Opportunities for cabling to be delivered alongside other infrastructure such as the electricity grid and walking and cycling networks are encouraged.
6.8 National development status aims to establish the need for these developments. Where national developments are not locationally specific, site selection will be needed. All developments will require the appropriate level of environmental assessment and public consultation, and will need to demonstrate that environmental impacts can be avoided, or mitigated to an acceptable level at the consenting stage. National development designations do not remove existing permitted development rights from a type of development or location.
6.9 Annex A provides the technical descriptions of the statements of need as required by the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006, and identifies those developments to be processed as national developments within the planning system and other consenting regimes where applications for consent are required.
Further key actions
6.10 We expect to see significant progress over the next five years, and recognise that action is needed now to ensure that we also achieve our longer-term goals. As well as delivering the suite of national developments, there are many other actions that need to be taken forward to deliver the aims of the spatial strategy in NPF3. The Action Programme for NPF3, which will be updated as delivery progresses, identifies the following 30 Actions which will ensure that the delivery of priorities is co-ordinated with other strategies and targets for the Scottish Government and its agencies.
A sustainable, successful place:
1. We will work with planning authorities to maintain an up-to-date, easily accessible national protocol for Enterprise Areas.
2. The Scottish Cities Alliance and local authorities will take forward the priorities set out in the City Investment Plans.
3. The Scottish Cities Alliance will bring the City Investment Plans together into a shared investment portfolio brochure, communicating a consistent investment message across the cities network.
4. As an early priority, we will examine current planning authority approaches to aligning planning and infrastructure investment to inform whether further advice on this is required.
5. We will continue to implement and embed the regeneration outcomes as articulated in our Regeneration Strategy. As a priority, we will implement the Town Centre Action Plan, and take forward a series of demonstration projects including a programme of town centre charrettes.
6. We will work with housing providers and the development sector to support housing development and encourage innovative approaches to affordable housing.
7. In anticipation of longer-term change, we wish to see planning authorities anticipate the likely need for new housing, infrastructure and services resulting from investment in coastal and rural areas through a joined-up approach to marine and terrestrial planning.
8. We will support the sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector, including through the continuing work of the Ministerial Group for Sustainable Aquaculture.
A low carbon place:
9. We will continue to take action to help generate the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's gross annual electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020, with an interim target of 50% by 2015.
10. We will apply building standards to improve the energy efficiency of existing and new buildings.
11. We will work with local authorities to build national and local authority heat maps into development plans.
12. We will build on progress to date to deliver our target of 500 MW of community and locally-owned renewable energy and promote greater benefits from renewable energy generation.
13. Working with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, we will implement the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan with planning enabling development across the locations it identifies.
14. We will take forward a study to explore the potential role, technology options, and impacts on the energy system of an increase in energy storage capacity.
15. The Highland Council, and Dumfries and Galloway Council will continue to work with partners and communities to develop planning frameworks associated with the decommissioning of nuclear power stations at Dounreay and Chapelcross.
16. We will finalise the National Marine Plan, including our plans for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy, in 2014 and commence development of a strategy for the marine grid.
17. We will support a co-ordinated approach to planning for energy-related and other key development in the five areas of co-ordinated action: Peterhead, Cockenzie, Grangemouth, Hunterston and the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters. We believe that these locations have a nationally-significant role to play in delivering our spatial strategy.
A natural, resilient place:
18. We will take forward the provisions of the Cycling Action Plan and the National Walking Strategy.
19. We will implement the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, including completing the suite of protected places and improving their connectivity through a national ecological network centred on these sites.
20. We will help planning authorities to take a more co-ordinated approach to planning for environmental and habitat improvements for the Forth Estuary.
21. We will increase new woodland creation to an average of 10,000 hectares per year from 2015, and take action towards delivering the proposal in Low Carbon Scotland ( RPP2) to increase the rate of peatland restoration to 22,000 hectares per year.
22. SEPA will publish the second round of River Basin Management Plans in 2015. National and local flood risk management plans will be published in 2016.
23. We will take action based on the outcome from our consultation on Opencast Coal Restoration: Effective Regulation.
24. Planning authorities will support VisitScotland's Tourism Development Framework in their development plans.
25. We will take forward the actions in the Climate Change Adaptation programme.
A connected place:
26. We will work with the Cities Alliance to progress Smart Cities initiatives.
27. We will deliver the strategic transport projects in the Infrastructure Investment Plan and work with the freight sector to identify priority developments for inclusion in NPF4.
28. We will work with industry to take forward the Step Change Programme to provide the capacity to deliver next generation broadband to 95% of premises by 2017-18, and a significant uplift in speeds for the remaining areas.
29. We will continue to provide funding for the installation of domestic, workplace and en-route charging points, as set out in 'Switched On Scotland: A Roadmap to Widespread Adoption of Plug-in Vehicles'.
30. We will continue to progress the Scotland's Scenic Routes initiative.
6.11 We expect strategic and local development plans to take into account the strategy, actions and developments set out in NPF3. We will use the actions and outcomes identified in the Action Programme to monitor progress over the next five years.
Email: Dr Fiona Simpson