Scottish Green Belts Alliance

Aug 2005 Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) on green belts

Scottish Planning Policies provide the national approach to all aspects of planning. On 5-8-05 the Communities Minister, Malcolm Chisholm, announced the new Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) 21: Green Belts. You can download the Consultation Draft (a 256kB PDFfile) or read it on a Scottish Executive web page. Responses to the Consultation Draft were due by 28th October 2005.

The responses to the Consultation Draft were put on to a Scottish Executive web page on 2nd December 2005. Analysis of the Consultation Responses were put on to a Scottish Executive web page on 27 April 2006.

The following is a copy of the 5/08/2005 news release:

Tightening up Green Belt planning


The role of green belts in the development of towns and cities will be strengthened and enhanced under new planning policy published for consultation today.

Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) 21: Green Belts also encourages greater stability in the role of designated green belts to increase their effectiveness.

The draft SPP sets out the key objectives of green belt policy as:

Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm said:

"We want a Scotland with vibrant towns and cities, where change is managed effectively, and where we make the best use of available land. Green belt policies can help to achieve this.

"We recognise the vital role that our towns and cities play in the growth of the Scottish economy, and recognise the need to avoid urban sprawl and unmanaged, unplanned growth.

"In some areas, existing green belts are not providing long term certainty and have been undermined by piecemeal development management decisions.

"This SPP aims to strengthen and enhance the role of green belts and encourage greater stability to increase their effectiveness, which will improve quality of life for local people and manage land carefully to guide growth of our settlements.

"This first policy review of green belts in 20 years sets out the objectives of green belt policy and the way it should be used and enforced.

"Green belt policy should be used to provide clarity and certainty on where development will and will not take place. Green belts should have a timeframe of at least 20 years, consistent with our policies on housing land supply.

"There should continue to be a strong presumption against development in green belts, and where it is considered necessary, the proposed release of green belt land should be taken forward as part of a long-term strategy in the development plan.

"In this way, local people can be closely engaged in the process at an early stage."

The SPP sets out that land that is designated as green belt in an area's development plan, in association with wider networks of green space, can provide a number of benefits, including outdoor recreational opportunities for local people, biodiversity and enhanced quality of life. Opportunities should be taken to protect and enhance these benefits.

Management plans agreed between local authorities, landowners and other interests, as well as a range of funding schemes, have an important role in maximising the benefits of green belt land in a co-ordinated way.

The new SPP 21 will replace 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 last year.

Green belts currently exist in Aberdeen; Edinburgh; 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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