THE Scottish Government is seeking views on an initiative designed to ensure the majority of people’s needs can be met within 20 minutes of their home.

So-called 20-minute neighbourhoods were pledged by Nicola Sturgeon in her time as first minister, an initiative carried forward into Humza Yousaf’s time in charge.

If implemented, the plans would mean most people would be able to access key services within a 20-minute journey from their home.

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The policy has been subject to right-wing conspiracy theories, some even shared by Tory MPs in the House of Commons, which claim the plans will restrict basic freedoms. 

Planning minister Joe FitzPatrick, who launched the consultation at the Scottish Young Planners Network annual conference in Stirling on Thursday, said: “Local living and 20-minute neighbourhood policies will deliver many longstanding ambitions for the planning system by supporting thriving communities and providing multiple benefits for people and the environment.

“We want to help people to meet their daily needs within a reasonable distance of their homes, while helping them to live healthier lives and contributing towards the achievement of our net zero targets.

“We can really get to the heart of what matters to people by working with them to shape our towns and communities of the future.”

While Euan Leitch, the chief executive of the regeneration forum Surf, said: “Surf warmly welcomes additional guidance on how we develop the value of local living and how planning, third and private sectors, public services and our transport systems will deliver this.

“Well maintained, easy to navigate places can be at the heart of community wellbeing and guidance should give communities the assurance that decisions made will improve their sense of control and enhance their quality of life.”

The consultation, which is seeking views on draft guidance drawn up by the Government, will close on July 20.

The guidance sets out benefits for the climate and environment, health and wellbeing, local economies, and quality of life. 

Each 20-minute neighborhood would also be designed to "improve local living in a way that reflects local circumstances", the document adds. 

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The availability of shopping, employment, health and social care facilities, schools and childcare facilities, playgrounds and green spaces, public toilets, affordable housing and sustainable transport links will be key requirements scrutinised for any potential 20-minute neighborhoods. 

The proposals, which have been floated in different parts of the world, have been subject to controversy.

Tory MP Nick Fletcher was criticised after he shared a right-wing conspiracy theory where he claimed the plans would “tax, restrict and monitor your basic freedom to move around” in the House of Commons. 

Fletcher also shared articles describing a plan for 15-minute cities as “climate lockdowns” and a “Communist-style dystopian city”.