NEW drive-through facilities and out-of-town retail developments face being curbed in the Scottish Government’s new planning framework.

The new rules aim to promote developments which would reduce emissions and help tackle climate change.

Ministers published a revised draft of the national planning framework, called NPF4, on Tuesday.

While local authorities will still be the arbiters of planning decisions, it sets out policies against which planning applications will be measured for the next decade.

A key goal is to enable renewable electricity generation outside national parks and scenic areas. It also seeks to facilitate the creation of walking and cycling routes as well as green spaces.

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Local councils will be set targets for the numbers of new houses they are expected to approve.

Planning minister Tom Arthur updated MSPs on NPF4 in the Scottish Parliament.

He said: “This final version makes clear what is to be delivered and how.

The National: Minister Tom ArthurMinister Tom Arthur (Image: Holyrood)

“It is now clear through the weighting to be applied to different policies, that the climate and nature crises are the priority.

“That is reflected in a new policy on tackling the climate and nature crises which underpins all other policies in NPF4.”

He said the Government had listened to the renewables industry and there was now a clear expectation of the role of planning in expanding the sector.

Speaking to reporters following the minister’s statement, Scottish Government officials said certain types of development would be discouraged under the new framework.

Chief planner Fiona Simpson said this included commercial peat extraction and homes on unplanned sites.

More restrictive approaches would also be taken against out of town retail and drive-through developments, recommending a “town centre first” approach.

Farm shops, craft shops and service stations are stated as possible exemptions to this rule.

The NPF4 draft document states that some types of development would not be supported if they “undermine the character and amenity of the area or the health and wellbeing of communities”.

It suggests that drive-through developments would only be supported where they are accommodated for in local development plans.

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The Scottish Government has set a target of reducing the total amount of car kilometres travelled by 20% by 2030.

Gail Macgregor, Cosla’s environment spokeswoman, responded to the NPF4 document.

She said: “Analysis and scrutiny will be required to comment on the content of NPF4, due to the detail and complexity of the framework.

“Cosla has previously made clear that we support a National Planning Framework which is consistent with our existing priorities, particularly the Just Transition to a Net Zero Economy no later than 2045 and place-making to improve the wellbeing of Scotland’s communities.

“We welcome moves in the NPF4 to achieve these aims, but the framework alone is not enough and local authorities will require the resources and flexibility of full cost recovery to effectively and efficiently deliver its aims.”