A revised draft of National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) was released this week detailing how the Scottish Government expects planners to treat onshore and offshore developments in the renewable energy industry.

The revision will be considered by members of Scottish Parliament who are due to vote on its adoption before the new year.

Policies under Part 2 – National Planning Policy of the NPF4 include ensuring “significant weight” is given to the climate crisis when considering all development proposals and facilitating developments that “minimise emissions” and adapt to “the current and future impacts of climate change.”

Senior policy manager at industry body Scottish Renewables Mark Richardson stated that an effective response to the climate emergency must include a net-zero-driven planning system. These planning reforms, Richardson continues, “provide a key opportunity to deliver this ambition.”

In the ministerial foreword for NPF4, minister for public finance, planning and community wealth, Tom Arthur stated: “Putting the twin global climate and nature crises at the heart of our vision for a future Scotland will ensure the decisions we make today will be in the long-term interest of our country.”

The NPF4 revision follows the Scottish government’s recent pledge via a virtual summit, to explore additional support measures for consumers and businesses in response to the energy crisis. This included working closely with organisations within the energy industry to increase smart meter installations, especially in rural parts of Scotland.

At the beginning of this year the Scottish government released final figures that showed Scotland missed its 100% gross renewable energy consumption target by only 1.4%.