East Lothian Council has agreed a response to be sent to the Scottish Government, giving the council’s views on the Draft National Planning Framework (NPF4).

NPF4, once approved by the Scottish Government, will become the most up to date planning policy statement and will be used to determine planning applications in East Lothian, alongside the 2018 Local Development Plan (LDP). It will also influence the development of the council’s new LDP 2023.

The council has broadly welcomed the draft, which recognises Cockenzie’s importance for future economic development and additional land at Blindwells as an important potential strategic location for new homes. The draft also recognises the opportunity that these sites present in terms of creating a platform for progress towards net zero carbon. It provides guidance in relation to future new homes, puts an emphasis on an ‘infrastructure first’ approach to development and sets an aspiration for improvements to connectivity including the potential to improve the East Coast Main Line.

The East Lothian response is structured around the questions that the Government asked through the consultation process. An additional letter to the Chief Planner will also be submitted, to highlight the importance of the Cockenzie and Blindwells area and the future actions that will be needed, if its full development potential is to be realised.

Key points in the council’s submission to the Scottish Government include:

  • Support for the ‘infrastructure first’ approach but also emphasising that for this to be successful, there will need to be a balance between contributions made by developers and the significant public funding needed to achieve major infrastructure improvements
  • Supporting the re-use of brownfield land as a priority
  • The policy should acknowledge the role of farming and its importance to the rural economy should be explicitly mentioned
  • The NPF focuses narrowly on the development of new ‘green jobs’ but fails to offer support for the existing key industries that make up the core of the Scottish economy
  • Requesting changes to the Rural Areas policy to remove some of the criteria that could open smaller settlements to speculative housing development
  • More clarity is required on the wording of the planning policy to ensure that the planning application and decision-making process can function effectively in the future

Once the consultation closes the Scottish Government will review the comments and revise the draft before bringing a finalised version before Parliament for approval.

The draft NPF4 can be viewed on the Scottish Government website.



Published: Wednesday, 30th March 2022