Scottish government pledges to use permitted development to tackle climate change

The Scottish government has said it is to introduce permitted development rights for schemes which help tackle global warming, as part of its plans to "accelerate" a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Scottish planning minister Kevin Stewart. Image by Scottish government
Scottish planning minister Kevin Stewart. Image by Scottish government

The Scottish National Party administration’s 2019-20 programme for government, published earlier this month, said that "the global climate emergency means that the time is right for wide-ranging debate on more radical planning policy options."

The document said that, as part of its wider package of changes to the planning system, the Scottish Government "will introduce legislation on permitted development rights."

"This would support, for example, developments such as micro-renewable technologies," it said.

A statement issued by the Scottish Government today said that "developments that radically help address climate change could no longer need planning permission" under the draft proposals.

It said that "local renewable energy and electric vehicle charging are examples of projects that could automatically be given the go-ahead" under the plans. 

The statement quotes Scottish planning minister Kevin Stewart as saying: "planning has a key role to play in addressing climate change and radically reducing our emissions.

"Removing red tape from some of the highest priority projects can be a big step towards our goal of a net-zero carbon future."

Planning asked the Scottish Government for further details on the proposal, including timescales, but had yet to receive a response at time of publication. 

The programme for government said that the Scottish Government will "begin engagement" on the fourth National Planning Framework - Scotland’s key spatial planning document - in autumn this year, with a draft being published in summer 2020.

The document also said that, through the framework, the Scottish Government "will explore planning options that radically accelerate reduction of [greenhouse gas] emissions."

In June, MSPs passed Scotland's new Planning Bill, which introduces new requirements for councils to appoint chief planning officers and to work together to prepare regional plans, an 'agent of change' rule and powers for communities to create 'local place plans'.

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