National Planning Framework


Moving from NPF3 and SPP to NPF4

Scottish Government prepared National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) as part of their planning reform agenda.

The previous National Planning Framework (NPF3) was published in 2014.

As part of the NPF4 preparation, Scottish Government reviewed NPF3 and Scottish Planning Policy (SPP), which contained detailed national policy on a number of planning topics that had been published in 2014. The revised SPP now forms part of NPF4.

The Scottish Government’s expectations for NPF4 were for it to look very different from NPF3:

  • longer time horizon (to 2050)
  • fuller regional coverage
  • improved alignment with wider programmes and strategies, including on infrastructure and economic investment.

NPF4 also takes into account regional spatial strategies prepared by local authorities.

Our contribution to NPF4 engagement

As part of the early engagement for NPF4, Scottish Government undertook a Call for Ideas. We made the following submissions:

The Economy and Infrastructure Committee approved these submissions on 1 July 2020.

Following approval by the Economy and Infrastructure Committee on 2 September 2020, we made the following submissions in Autumn 2020:

NPF4 position statement

Scottish Government published an NPF4 Position Statement in November 2020.

We provided Council officer feedback in February 2021. We also refined our Highland IRSS including our cND suggestions, and resubmitted it in April 2021.

Our feedback was approved by the Economy and Infrastructure Committee on 5 May 2021.

Draft NPF4

Scottish Government published Draft NPF4 in November 2021, which was open for consultation until 31 March 2022.

Our initial response to Draft NPF4 was considered by the Economy and Infrastructure Committee on 2 February 2022, after which our response was finalised and submitted to the Scottish Government.

Revised NPF4

On 8 November 2022, Scottish Government published a Revised Draft NPF4 and laid it before Scottish Parliament for their consideration and decision as to whether to approve it, or not.

Publication and adoption

On 11 January 2023, the Scottish Parliament, following debate, approved Revised Draft NPF4. Officers provided an update report to the Economy and Infrastructure Committee meeting held on 2 February 2023.

NPF4 was adopted and published by Scottish Ministers on 13 February 2023.