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May 2, 2023

What lies within 20 mins?

One of the defining features of the new National Planning Framework (NPF4) is its focus on place, what a successful place actually looks and feels like, and what it should take for us all to be able to live locally. The idea of the 20 minute neighbourhood sits at the heart of this and many of the aspirations of NPF4 will depend on whether this borrowed concept can be successfully implemented. After much speculation, last week’s publication of the draft guidance should offer some clarity as to where it’s all heading.  Consultation ends in July

Scottish Government

Delivering thriving local communities

People are being asked for their views on how the planning system can support healthy, thriving and connected communities as part of a consultation launched by the Scottish Government.

As part of implementation of National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4), draft guidance has been prepared to support people to meet the majority of their daily needs within a reasonable distance of their home, preferably through active travel or by using public transport.

The local living and the 20 minute neighbourhood concepts contained in NPF4 will help the planning system to deliver sustainable and resilient places, deliver net zero ambitions, reduce social isolation, promote active travel, and provide access to green space.

Planning Minister Joe FitzPatrick launched the consultation at the Scottish Young Planners Network annual conference in Stirling.

Mr FitzPatrick said:

“Local living and 20 minute neighbourhood policies will deliver many longstanding ambitions for the planning system by supporting thriving communities and providing multiple benefits for people and the environment. 

“We want to help people to meet their daily needs within a reasonable distance of their homes, while helping them to live healthier lives and contributing towards the achievement of our net zero targets.

“We can really get to the heart of what matters to people by working with them to shape our towns and communities of the future.”

Euan Leitch, Chief Executive of SURF – Scotland’s Regeneration Forum, said:

“SURF warmly welcomes additional guidance on how we develop the value of local living and how planning, third and private sectors, public services and our transport systems will deliver this.

“Well maintained, easy to navigate places can be at the heart of community wellbeing and guidance should give communities the assurance that decisions made will improve their sense of control and enhance their quality of life.”


Local Living and 20 Minute Neighbourhood: draft planning guidance. The deadline for responding is Thursday 20 July.

National Planning Framework 4 was adopted and published by the Scottish Ministers in February 2023. It contains a policy on local living and 20 minute neighbourhoods, which is intended to create places where people can meet the majority of their daily needs within a reasonable distance of their home.

The consultation on the draft guidance is part of the delivery programme for NPF4