On 28th January we held an online event to involve people in our Campaign to make the National Planning Framework 4 a plan that puts people and planet first. We explained to the 55 attendees why we think NPF4 is the most important development plan in Scotland and how to get involved in shaping it over the next year. Discussions were had in breakout rooms and a plenary was held at the end. Since the event we have continued the conversation via emails and in our own Slack forum.
The NPF4 is a 10 year plan looking forward to 2050. It sets the tone for how Scotland will be developed. So, it has to be done right. The Government declare that the new plan, which is being drafted over the next few months, can help us achieve net zero carbon emissions and will help to halt the decline in biodiversity, whilst delivering more resilient communities and a well being economy. They have produced a Position Statement which people can comment on before 19th February.
The Scottish Government put out a Call for Ideas last January. The Position Statement seems to be an attempt to try to please everyone who contributed to the Call for Ideas, by producing a soup of a policies.
In our conversations during and after the online event many have concluded that NPF4 needs strong leadership to deliver a truly transformational plan that really addresses climate change and the biodiversity emergency.
The consultative process lacks the deliberative mechanisms to enable it to achieve the necessary agreement and understanding required to deliver something different.
Considering they have had nearly 20 months to draw up a draft plan, it’s a massive missed opportunity to engage people in a big conversation about future development in Scotland.
Sadly, at heart this NPF is the same old same old. Planning continues to be about enabling new development, (albeit allegedly low carbon) and encouraging “economic growth”, rather than focussing on regulating and limiting unnecessary or bad development and considering planetary needs.