The planning system is used to make decisions about the future development and use of land in our towns, cities and countryside. It considers where development should happen, where it should not and how development affects its surroundings. The planning system has an important role in promoting sustainable development and can help us adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects. Planning will support emissions reduction in sectors such as energy, transport, heat, and waste and is often a critical enabling measure.
The National Planning Framework, Scottish Planning Policy, planning advice, and strategic and local development plans all play their parts in supporting the transition to a low carbon future. Activities within the planning system include: supporting the transition to a low carbon economy (identified as a key theme for the third National Planning Framework); guidance and support for the expansion of renewable energy generating capacity; the promotion of sustainable and active travel; and support to planning authorities on the development of heat mapping to inform future strategic and local policy on the development of district heat networks.
The Scottish Government has supported local authority planning in the development of a Scottish Heat Map. This is a powerful way to visualise and assess who needs heat, where sources of heat might come from and how these can be connected in an efficient way to reduce the cost of heat supply and the carbon intensity of heat generation. It can also be used, in combination with other spatial datasets as a tool to illustrate the socio-economic benefits to be gained by changing existing paradigms of heat supply.
To find out more about how planning may impact on the development of a district heating network or for advice on a specific planning issue related to heat networks, please contact us or visit Resources.