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Strategic development opportunities within the National Park

Earlier this month we submitted our draft Indicative Regional Spatial Strategy to the Scottish Government. This is a draft report that sets out our early thinking on the key strategic planning and land use issues and opportunities within the National Park up to 2050. It highlights the strategic-scale changes that are needed to support a transition to net zero carbon, green recovery and a more inclusive society.

The draft report identifies that the National Park is a strategic asset for Scotland with opportunities to deliver over the longer term for multiple outcomes, including:

  • Climate and nature
  • The rural economy
  • Scotland’s health and wellbeing
  • Scotland’s people

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 established a new duty for a planning authority, or authorities acting jointly, to prepare and adopt a Regional Spatial Strategy. These are long-term strategies which identify the need for strategic development, its outcomes, and priorities for delivery along with proposed locations for these.

Whilst our report considers the opportunities and needs for the National Park, there are a number of cross boundary issues where joint working can, at wider regional scale, help deliver important national outcomes. This is particularly the case for the Forth Valley area (including Stirling, Clackmannan and Falkirk Local Authority areas), where catchment-scale working could help support climate resilience, enhance natural capital and decarbonisation of the region and support the rural economy through tourism. Discussions with the Glasgow and Clyde Valley region have highlighted the strategic role of the National Park in relation to central Scotland (50% of Scotland’s population is within one hour of the National Park) and the opportunities this presents for health, wellbeing and inclusion.

We will now work with partners and neighbouring planning authorities to further discuss and explore linkages, opportunities and means for delivery. We have prepared our report at the request of the Scottish Government to help inform their drafting of National Planning Framework 4. Full stakeholder engagement and consultation will form a key part of the process to prepare the formal Regional Spatial Strategy in due course.

Read the draft Indicative Regional Spatial Strategy in full.

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