Drive-thrus and retail parks could be banned in Scotland in effort to tackle climate change

10th November 2022 | Lucy Millar

The Scottish government’s latest crackdown on environmental issues could see drive-thrus and retail parks banned, with the aim of reducing car usage.

These restrictions would prohibit the future development of out-of-town shopping destinations.

The idea is to reduce the use of cars, forcing shoppers to visit stores and services that are accessible by public transport. A byproduct of the proposal is that it will drive footfall back to town centres, helping revitalise the high street.

Ministers published the fourth iteration of the National Planning Framework (NPF4) on Tuesday. These are the guidelines for evaluating planning applications over the next decade. Although local councils will still have the majority input on planning decisions, Scottish Government officials confirmed they would take more restrictive approaches against some developments, including out-of-town retail parks and drive-thrus.

There are likely to be exceptions, such as for farm shops, craft shops and service stations.

The framework comes as part of the government’s plan to secure their target of reducing the total amount of car kilometres travelled by 20% by 2030.

“The window of opportunity to act to reduce emissions and adapt to already locked-in changes is narrowing. Our statutory and moral obligation to tackle climate change means change is necessary and urgent.” says planning minister, Tom Arthur.

“This final version of the framework makes clear that we won’t compromise on climate change. It also clarifies what is to be delivered, and how. And it is now clear through the weighting to be applied to different policies, that the climate and nature crises are the priority.”


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