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Regional Spatial Strategy

Regional Spatial Strategy

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The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 sets out a new Development Plan system for Scotland as part of a ‘plan led approach’ to planning, namely

  • National Planning Framework (NPF) - The NPF must have regard to any adopted Regional Spatial Strategy. NPF4 adopted and published by Scottish Ministers 13th February 2022

  • Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) - The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 introduced a new duty requiring local authorities to prepare a RSS. The RSS is a long-term spatial strategies for the strategic development of an area.

  • Local Development Plan (LDP) - Planning authorities must prepare an LDP which sets out a spatial strategy for the development of that area. It must take into account the NPF and any registered Local Place Plan and it must also have regard to any adopted RSS.

The statutory Development Plan will comprise the NPF and LDP. The RSS though not part of the statutory development plan will have an important role to play in informing future versions of the NPF and LDPs

Consistent with the new statutory purpose of planning, RSSs will enable planning authorities to work together with others to guide future long-term strategic development and use of land in the long-term public interest.

They can provide a place-based strategy that guides future development across an area. Key aspects could include identification of networks of regionally significant centres, and ensuring the spatial strategy identifies and responds to nationally and regionally recognised natural and historic areas and assets.

Work on preparing RSSs will be expected to begin once statutory guidance is in place which is expected to be published by the Scottish Government in later 2023/early 2024.

Further information of the legislative requirements in relation to the RSS can be found at

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