Commenting on the publication of the draft National Planning Framework, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Director Dr Richard Dixon said:

“Overall the draft National Planning Framework takes big steps in the direction of delivering a zero-carbon Scotland, but its Achilles heel is the fossil-fuel power station at Peterhead and its strong backing of carbon capture development.

“Planning decisions affect us every day, from how we access schools, services and workplaces to how much climate emissions our country produces. This framework sets the policies for developments all over Scotland through the next decade and more, and lists the priority projects which will have a much easier ride through planning.

“There is a very welcome new requirement for planning decisions to consider the climate impacts of planning proposals, as well as policies to support renewable energy, energy storage, heat networks and the move to a circular economy.

“These proposals deliver the SNP’s key promise to use NPF4 to make sure no fracking can take place in Scotland, and there is a presumption against all other new fossil fuel developments. It is also great to see that a new proposed fossil-fueled power station at Hunterston in Ayrshire, seen in the initial long list, has not been included in this official draft. As you would expect from this government there is no support at all for new nuclear power.

“However one national priority is the Scottish Cluster which could include a new gas-fired power station at Peterhead, something that is unthinkable if we are to take our climate responsibilities seriously. Support for carbon capture and storage at Grangemouth and in the North East is not surprising but still disappointing since we should be concentrating on renewable energy instead of this dead-end technology. The plan fails to rule out the farcical idea of using the captured carbon to extract extra oil, as happens at four out of five of the existing carbon capture plants operating globally.

“There has been a very welcome move away from road building, with no major road schemes listed as national priorities for the first time in decades, and walking and cycling infrastructure become national priorities for the first time, while bus and rail priorities also feature strongly. New rules also mean it will be harder to justify out-of-town retail developments.”

The National Planning Framework spells out how we will approach planning and development across Scotland, and lists a set of priority projects which will get a smoother passage through the planning system. Previous NPF’s have covered 5 years but this one looks out to 2045 and is the first that requires a vote in the Scottish Parliament.

Notes to Editors

1. The draft documents are here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scotland-2045-fourth-national-planning-framework-draft/

2. Friends of the Earth Scotland is
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.