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Existing Publications

National Planning Framework 3 and Scottish Planning Policy remain in force until National Planning Framework 4 is adopted.

National Planning Framework 3

National Planning Framework 3 Monitoring Report

Scottish Planning Policy

National Performance Framework

Scottish Planning Policy

For the first time, Scottish Planning Policy will be incorporated in the National Planning Framework. Existing Scottish Planning Policy remains in place until NPF4 is adopted.

Scottish Planning Policy

Research on the Effectiveness of Scottish Planning Policy

Research on the Effectiveness of Scottish Planning Policy - Database

Research on Rural Planning Policy to 2050 

Research on Improving Air Quality Outcomes

Securing positive effects for biodiversity – NatureScot Report to Scottish Government - PDF (1.15MB)

National Developments

As part of our Call for Ideas, we invited suggestions for projects to be considered for ‘National Development’ status in the draft NPF4 and these are being considered. You can view the suggested proposals on our mapping platform.

The Planning Act allows the Scottish Ministers to identify national developments to include in NPF4. This could include single, large-scale projects or several smaller scale developments combined. Once designated, the question of whether a national development is needed does not have to be debated in later consenting processes.

At this time we are not seeking further national development suggestions. 

Further information on national developments:

National Developments - Factsheet - November 2020 - PDF (442kB)

National Developments - Invitation - PDF (581kB) (For information - Call for Ideas now closed)

National Developments - Response Form (For information - Call for Ideas now closed)

Regional Spatial Strategies

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 establishes a duty for a planning authority, or authorities acting jointly, to prepare and adopt a regional spatial strategy. The review of the NPF presents an opportunity for early thinking on regional spatial strategies to help inform NPF4.

Authorities have been taking forward early thinking on the development of their indicative Regional Spatial Strategies (iRSS).  The factsheet and iRSS summary set out background information and a progress update:

Regional Spatial Strategies - Factsheet - PDF (218kB)

Indicative Regional Spatial Strategies – Summary - PDF (1.54MB)

Impact Assessments

NPF4 will be subject to a number of impact assessments. We will ensure that key stakeholders and the public are properly consulted at key stages in the process and that a statement on how these assessments have affected the development of the policy is included with the final Framework.

NPF4 Integrated Impact Assessments Easy Read Guide - PDF (505kB)


To support our ongoing policy development we have published the following documents alongside our Position Statement:

NPF4 Update on Integrated Impact Assessment – November 2020 - PDF (682kB)  

NPF4 Update on Integrated Impact Assessment – Appendix A - Habitats Regulations Appraisal - Baseline Information Report - PDF (921kB)


To inform our early engagement period we published the following scoping information in January 2020:

NPF4 Integrated Impact Assessment - Scoping Report - Appendix B - Society and Equalities - PDF (1.1MB)

NPF4 Integrated Impact Assessment - Scoping Report - PDF (1.63MB)

NPF4 Integrated Impact Assessment - Scoping Report - Appendix A - Environment - Baseline Information - PDF (6.77MB)

This Data Protection Impact Assessment - PDF (371kB) considers the privacy implications associated with the consultation arrangements undertaken by the Scottish Government’s Planning and Architecture Division.

Spatial Data

In time, NPF4 will be hosted on a digital mapping platform that will permit access to interactive spatial data. In the interim, this resource pack makes available a series of mapped data under the four key themes of Climate, People, Work, and Place to assist with the development of a draft NPF4.

Resource Pack - PDF (2.81MB)   

Key Demographic Trends and Projections – Last updated December 2020 - PDF (2.1MB)


The Planning (Scotland) Act, 2019, requires the National Planning Framework to include ‘targets for the use of land in different areas of Scotland for housing’. 


The Scottish Government Chief Planner and Director for Housing and Social Justice have written to Local Authority Heads of Planning and Heads of Housing to seek the input of their authorities and relevant stakeholders to meeting the statutory requirement of the 2019 Act relating to housing.  The letter and accompanying documents are available below:


Housing Advisory Panel

A Housing Advisory Panel has been convened to support the progress of work relating to NPF and housing. 


Consultation on Proposed Methodology

A discussion paper setting out a proposed methodology that could be used for setting ‘targets for the use of land for housing in different areas of Scotland’ was published in March 2020.

National Planning Framework - Housing Technical Discussion Paper - PDF (404kB)

An analysis of the responses to the paper was included in the analysis of responses to the NPF4 Call for Ideas.

Last Updated: 08 Apr 2021