Scottish Green Belts Alliance

Scottish Planning Policy 21 (SPP21) on green belts

Final version 27 April 2006

ISBN 0-7559-6031-9

On 27-4-06 the Executive announced the final version of the new Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) 21: Green Belts. You can read it on a Scottish Executive web page.

This document is also available in pdf format (216k).

SPP21 sets out the objectives of green belt policy and the way in which it should be used and enforced. This policy replaces Scottish Office Circular 24/1985: Development in the Countryside and Green Belts. Policy in that Circular on development in the countryside has been superseded by SPP 3: Planning for Housing and SPP 15: Rural Development.

Scottish Planning Policies provide the national approach to all aspects of planning.

The following is a copy of the 27/04/2006 news release:

Long term green belt planning

The green belt designation will now last for at least 20 years as a result of new planning policy published today.

The aim is to create more certainty for people and communities in and around green belt areas.

Scottish Planning Policy 21 also recognises that green belts can sometimes help to stop smaller settlements being swallowed up by larger towns and cities.

A number of changes have been made after consultation on green belt policy. Most importantly, the link between development plans and green belts has been strengthened, mirroring the high profile for development plans in the wider modernisation of the planning system.

Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm said:

"Green belts are very important to many people and communities, protecting the character of their towns and cities and enhancing quality of life.

"This new policy strengthens green belt protection and ensures that councils plan effectively for the long term, managing the land and environmental resource carefully.

"There continues to be a strong presumption against development in green belts, and any proposed release of green belt land should be part of a long-term strategy in the development plan.

"A stronger link to development plans ensures that decisions to amend green belt boundaries can be debated at an early stage with local people, landowners, developers and other stakeholders."

SPP 21 sets out its objectives as:

The Executive now expects planning authorities to consider the purpose and extent of their green belts in forthcoming development plan reviews, and to set out clearly in those plans the circumstances in which development in green belts will and will not be allowed.

The new SPP21s replaces the policy on green belts contained in Circular 24/85: Development in the Countryside and Green Belts which is now 20 years old.

Research into green belts, intended to inform the drafting of the SPP, was carried out by a team from Heriot-Watt University and Robinson Associates and was published in August 2004.

Green belts currently exist in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, greater Glasgow, Falkirk and Grangemouth, Ayr and Prestwick, Clackmannanshire, and Stirling.

A further three green belts for St Andrews, Dunfermline and Perth are now approved in principle in Structure Plans.

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