Skip to main content

Implementing NPF4

Since adoption of NPF4, we have progressed a number of actions to help support delivery.

Local living and 20 minute neighbourhoods

We consulted on draft guidance from April-July 2023 and have published the independent analysis of the consultation responses.  The guidance will be finalised in 2023.

The Minister for Community Wealth and Public Finance, Tom Arthur MSP, and Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning, Joe FitzPatrick MSP published a joint blog on Planning to live well locally.


Draft guidance to support Policy 3 Biodiversity has been published. This commitment from the NPF4  Delivery Programme v.2 was informed by a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) which includes members from CIEEM, the RTPI, the Improvement Service, NatureScot and Heads of Planning Scotland.

  • Developing with Nature Guidance - published by NatureScot to support Policy 3(c).
  • May 2023 - TAG convened a roundtable discussion on ‘Offsite-offsetting’ with a range of stakeholders including representatives from industry, NGOs, and other environmental, legal, and planning professionals - Meeting notes
  • September 2023, the Scottish Government published independent research undertaken by SRUC into ‘Approaches to Measuring Biodiversity in Scotland’. We welcome publication of this research, the findings and recommendations of which set out pragmatic next steps to ensure a consistent and cross-government approach to measuring biodiversity at site level.
  • NatureScot has commenced work to develop an adapted biodiversity metric suitable for use in supporting delivery of NPF4 policy 3b, engaging closely with all relevant stakeholders. We will provide further updates and information on this work in due course.
  • The Scottish Government has also announced an additional £5 million for Councils from the Nature Restoration Fund to develop Nature Networks, further supporting delivery of expectations set out in the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy to 2045and National Planning Framework 4 that Nature Networks will be created in every council area. Further information on Developing Nature Networks is available on our scot website.


Play Sufficiency Assessments

Guidance to support the implementation of the Play Sufficiency Assessment Regulations 2023 was published on Thursday 14th December 2023. The guidance has been prepared based on the information and learning gathered through working with relevant stakeholders. [This includes working group meetings and wider stakeholder workshops which involved local authorities, during the preparation of the draft regulations.] The preparation of PSAs align with the policy intent and contribute to the delivery of policy outcomes set out in Policy 21 Play, recreation and sport.

Climate Mitigation and Adaptation

The NPF4 is supported by the Delivery Programme which includes a commitment to prepare Planning and Climate Change guidance. This work is underway, informed by an Expert Advisory Group. The guidance will support implementation of NPF4 policy 2 (climate mitigation and adaptation). It will aid the integration of climate considerations into development proposals, helping to avoid maladaptation, whilst supporting emissions reduction and increased resilience to climate risks. 

As part of the work to inform the guidance, we have commissioned research to look into identifying relevant information sources, tools, methods and approaches (including qualitative and quantitative) that can be used to demonstrate whether and how lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of development proposals have been minimised. In particular, a focus is being given to information sources, tools, methods and approaches that can support developers in informing the siting and design of development proposals, as well as decision makers in determining planning applications.

Further updates will be provided as work progresses.


Last Updated: 13 Feb 2024