Scottish Government Consultation
The Scottish Government’s fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) sets out how their approach to planning and development will help to achieve a net zero, sustainable Scotland by 2045.
We welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the draft NPF4 consultation and we support many of the principles contained in the document. However, given this sets out the long-term plan for what Scotland could be in 2045, our response urges government to be more ambitious in tackling inequalities.
Taking a public health approach to planning is central in efforts to tackle health inequalities. For this reason, we believe the Liveable Places section of NPF4 needs to be strengthened along with policy 14 on creating healthier places. We have responded to the aspects of the consultation which directly impact people’s health outcomes, but we recognise other policies within the framework will also influence people’s health.
Key points from our response:
- We share the view of the Improvement Service that the Place and Wellbeing Outcomes created by the Spatial Planning, Health & Wellbeing Collaborative should be embedded into NPF4.
- Ambitions to encourage walking, wheeling and cycling options must not be at the expense of accessibility or affordability.
- It is vital that the digital offering alone is not considered to be “local delivery” of a service as this has the potential to worsen health inequalities through digital exclusion, especially with regards to accessing health and social care services.
- Access to community space for charities, groups and networks must be included in plans for local living.
- We believe a health inequalities impact assessment should be required for development proposals and the scope of requirement for these impact assessments should be widened.
- We support Obesity Action Scotland’s call for the government to consider its public health priorities in plans for town centres.
- The framework could play a much stronger role in controlling the type of food outlets that are permitted to open in our communities.
Our Members’ responses
The government consulted on the draft NPF4 alongside the Scottish Parliament’s committee scrutiny of the framework. Voluntary Health Scotland supported the Health, Social Care & Sport Committee through an informal evidence gathering session, which fed into the Local Government, Housing & Planning Committee’s final report on NPF4. We were pleased to see that recommendations from the engagement session with our members and stakeholders fed into the Health, Social Care & Sport Committee’s recommendations, especially the following:
- The Committee recognises the crucially important role of health and care partnerships, territorial health boards and the third sector in contributing to effective strategic planning of future health and care service provision. The Committee therefore calls for this role to be addressed more clearly and prominently in NPF4 and for these parties to be involved from the very outset of the preparation of local development plans.
- The Committee has been interested to hear examples of third sector organisations being given the opportunity to provide complimentary services on-site in public health and care facilities. It believes such opportunities for co-location of third sector services should be actively encouraged as part of planning of future provision of primary care facilities and that this should also
be reflected in NPF4.
- To ensure future planning decisions are genuinely inclusive and effectively address the needs of different population groups, the Committee supports the wider roll-out of health inequality impact assessments as part of NPF4.
Health Policy Officers Network Engagement
Members of the network met to discuss the Scottish Government’s consultation on the draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) and upcoming parliamentary engagement events. We heard from colleagues at the Scottish Parliament and SPICe about NPF4 and how best to engage with the process. The conversation focused on key aspects of the framework such as 20-minute neighborhoods and the role of health in planning decisions. This helped inform Voluntary Health Scotland’s response to the government’s consultation and our engaging with the Health, Social Care & Sport Committee. We are grateful to the Scottish Parliament’s Participation & Communities Team for facilitating this network meeting.
For further information please contact Kimberley.