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RTPI Scotland's Response to Draft Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change

Our Approach

  1. Objectives

1(a) - What are your views on the three objectives underpinning our approach to engagement on climate change?

RTPI Scotland support the three objectives underpinning the engagement strategy of communicating climate change policy, enabling participation in policy design and encouraging action.

1(b) - Do you think that any of these objectives should be removed or changed?


1(c) - Are there any objectives that you think should be included that are currently missing?

No, however some of the actions could better address the opportunity of emerging Local Place Plans (LPPs), the 20 minute neighbourhood concept, Local Development Plan (LDP) preparation and place-based approaches. Whilst LPPs, LDPs and 20 minute neighbourhoods are mentioned in the encouraging action section, RTPI Scotland would wish to see more primacy given to both at the fore of document and explicitly be included in the actions section supporting the objectives set out. In particular RTPI Scotland would like to see LPPs and LDPs considered under the objective of ‘Enabling Participation in Policy Design’ and 20 minute neighbourhoods under the ‘Communicating Climate Change Policy’ objective.

  1. Principles

2(a) - What are your views on our seven principles for public engagement set out in Box 1?

RTPI Scotland support the seven principles for public engagement.

2 (b). Do you think that any of these principles should be removed or changed?:


2(c) - Are there any principles of good public engagement on climate change that you think are missing?

RTPI Scotland would also welcome a commitment to joining up public engagement across the public sector. This should be driven by effective partnership working, skills and information sharing, meaningful community engagement and a thorough understanding of spatial opportunities and constraints across sectors[1]. RTPI Scotland believes the planning system could have an important role to play here as a positive and proactive facilitator of community engagement, the Place Principle and place based approaches. The Place Principle supports collaborative place-based action and the Place Standard is a commonly-used tool to help people think about the quality of their place and where action might be required. Only brief mention is made of the Place Standard Tool within the ‘Encouraging Action’ section and could be better emphasised as a key tool within the strategy. If the Place Principle is to be effective there is a need to ‘give it teeth’ and operationalise its work so it influences policy, practice and investment on the ground. 

  1. Other Comments

Do you have any other comments on our overall approach?


Green Recovery

  1. What are your views on the opportunities and challenges for public engagement in the Green Recovery?

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound and lasting impact across the world. Responding to this unprecedented shock to the social and economic system, the Royal Town Planning Institute sets out in its ‘Plan The World We Need’ campaign, the vital contribution that planning can make toward to a sustainable, resilient and inclusive recovery. This includes an accelerated progress to a zero carbon economy, increase resilience to risk, and create fair, healthy and prosperous communities[2]. RTPI Scotland believe there is a clear opportunity for public engagement in the Green Recovery by integrating emerging LPPs with the aspirations of 20 minute neighbourhoods.

LPPs and 20 minute neighbourhoods are both concerned with making everyday neighbourhoods and environments better places to live, work and play. This could support the Green Recovery as they can make a vital connection between this new found emphasis on localities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and helping achieve carbon net-zero targets through reducing unsustainable travel alongside improving health outcomes, enhancing social cohesion and regenerating urban centres[3]. LPPs can help planners to communicate strategic overarching considerations and allow communities to plan priorities for interventions, conveying detailed local understanding. A lot of these strategic considerations could be covered by many of the fundamental aspirations of 20 minute neighbourhoods, tailored to the specific circumstance and context of localities. Planners can in turn bring the vital links to other departments, agendas and organisations that help to navigate the system and turn community aspirations into reality. For LPPs to be effective in their delivery of the new development that their advocates support the location and scope of these responsibilities will need to be clear from the outset. Key responsibilities in the preparation of LPPs would include:

  • Community Planning Partnerships – co-ordinating community engagement processes with the planning authority and promoting and facilitating the preparation of community led LPPs
  • planning authorities – with a duty to liaise with the Community Planning Partnership on community engagement to inform LOIPs, Locality Plans (LPs), LDPs and Regional Spatial Strategies
  • ‘communities’ (to be defined in the secondary legislation) – with duty to notify the Community Planning Partnership of intention to prepare an LPP and subsequently submit into, in accordance with secondary legislation, advice and guidance. Full consideration needs made as to how a diverse range of ages can be involved and how both geographic communities and communities of interest be engaged in the LPP preparation process

However a clear constraint to undertake such work is resourcing. For LPPs to succeed there needs to be funding set aside to support communities to develop them. There is currently no designated funding in place to support them to do this, although their success may well depend on this. It has been estimated that each LPP could cost between £10,000 - £30,000 each[4]. There is also a need to secure on-going funding for maintenance of any interventions identified. This should be considered in the context of diminished resources in planning departments across Scotland, having suffered disproportionately from budget cuts in recent years:

  • only 0.34% of net revenue budgets in local authorities were spent on development management and development planning. This is reduction from 0.63% in 2015.
  • planning authorities’ budgets have diminished in real terms by 40.8% since 2009
  • planning services have suffered from the highest cuts of any local government service by a margin of 10%.
  • there has been a 25.7% cut in staff in local authority planning departments since 2009
  • planning application fees currently only meet 66% of development management costs

Charrettes are another community engagement tool to consider and can be seen in many regards as prototype LPPs. A charrette is an interactive design workshop, in which the public, local professionals and stakeholders work directly with a specialised design team to generate a specific community masterplan.

Communicating Climate Change Policy

  1. What are your views on our approach to communicating climate change policy?

As discussed in question 4. RTPI Scotland believe that integrating the principles of 20 minute neighbourhoods with LPPs will provide planners to communicate strategic overarching considerations and allow communities plan priorities for interventions, conveying detailed local understanding. The fundamental aspirations of 20 minute neighbourhoods are directly related to meeting net zero carbon target ambitions and could be a useful tool in communicating climate policy[5].

  1. Are you aware of any practical examples or case studies of good practice for communicating on climate change that could be useful for informing our approach?

The Climate Ready Ken project[6] has been produced as a part of the Adaptation Scotland programme, funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by a sustainability charity Sniffer. The aim of the project is to provide advice and support to help organisations, businesses and communities prepare for, and build resilience to the impacts of climate change and forms part of the wider work of the Loch Ken Trust to build the Loch Ken Plan, a 10-year sustainable community plan.

Enabling Participation in Policy Design

  1. What are your views on our approach to enabling participation in policy design?

Again as discussed in Q4 and Q5 RTPI Scotland see a fundamental roll for the planning system to enable participation in policy design, whether that is through the engagement with the LDP preparation process or through the future production of LPPs. As also discussed in Q5 clear consideration needs given to how show community engagement can be resourced, processes streamlined so as not to over-consult communities, and then how the outcomes of such participation can be delivered across a range of stakeholders in the public sector.  

RTPI Scotland considers there to be a clear role for digital in enabling participation in policy design. There is a brief mention of the role digital can play in participation within this section that “We will continue to develop and promote climate conversations throughout Scotland in a variety of formats including with increased use of digital approaches.” However RTPI Scotland would wish to see the reference to the Scottish Governments Digital Planning Strategy in which under Mission 4 there is a clear inclusion of the need use digital tools to drive collaboration and engagement.

  1. Are you aware of any practical examples or case studies of good practice for enabling participation in decision-making that could be useful for informing our approach?

There is a wide range of exemplar charrettes and LDP preparation processes that have resulted in enhanced participation in decision making

Encouraging Action

  1. What are your views on our approach to encouraging action?

RTPI Scotland also welcomes the commitment to enhance participation, through Scotland’s Climate Assembly, further climate conversations, the Just Transition Engagement and through an increased emphasis on youth engagement. In particular in this section RTPI Scotland welcome the reference to the National Planning Framework 4,, LDPs, LPPs and the 20 minute neighbourhood concept and agree that they will be critical tools and framework in encouraging action on climate change. However as discussed throughout the response we also see a clear role for these to also be included as integral elements of the Green Recovery, enabling participation in policy design and communicating climate change policy. RTPI Scotland would also like to see greater reference to engagement within the LDP preparation process as a critical means of supporting and communicating a more frontloaded approach to climate change engagement. LDPs offer opportunity for people to get involved in the medium to long term development of their in their local areas, and address many issues especially climate change.

  1. Are you aware of any practical examples or case studies of good practice for encouraging climate change action that could be useful for informing our approach?

The Glasgow City Council Climate Emergency Implementation Plan[7] is the product of the planning and sustainability teams within the council working together to ensure climate action is delivered in a coordinated way which maximizes outcomes for people and place. The Implementation plan which was developed through cross- departmental collaboration reaches beyond the traditional performance monitoring approaches of the public sector and engages other sectors and communities in a meaningful conversations about progress and what it means for the city and its people. The plan also fosters a sense of common purpose and provides common points of reference when addressing the various actions required to deal with the climate emergency. The plan helps pave the way for further integration of energy planning, land-use planning, housing planning, and mobility planning.


  1. How do you think COP26 can help deliver a positive legacy for people of Scotland and climate action?

The climate talks will be the biggest international summit the UK has ever hosted; bringing together over 30,000 delegates including heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change. RTPI Scotland see a clear opportunity to increase the understanding of the role planners and planning can play in tackling climate change in Scotland. This includes a range of thematic areas such as:

  • Adaptation and resilience
  • Energy transition and clean growth
  • Nature based solutions
  • Accelerating the move to zero-carbon road transport.
  • Financing the transition
  1. How can we work with stakeholders and actors across Scotland to deliver our “people” theme for COP26.

There will also be opportunities Scottish Government to work collaboratively to hold or be involved in fringe events in Glasgow during the COP26 period outside of the official zones with a cross section of built environment stakeholders, including RTPI Scotland.

  1. Are there other initiatives that the Scottish Government should consider joining or supporting ahead of COP26?

Monitoring & Evaluation of the Strategy

  1. What are your views on how our progress towards our objectives could be most effectively monitored and evaluated?

RTPI Scotland welcome the intent included within this section to “looking into the value of developing some new national indicators using new sources of data.” Similarly as in response Q7 RTPI Scotland see a role for the Scottish Government’s Digital Planning Strategy to handle the collection and analysis of spatial data to support this monitoring.

  1. How regularly – and in what format – should we report on progress on the strategy?

RTPI Scotland believe it would be pragmatic to align reporting on the strategy with the monitoring framework included in the Climate Change Plan 2018-32 on an annual basis as set out by Section 35B of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 (as amended by the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019).


[1] RTPI (2021) Place-based Approaches to Climate Change – Opportunities for Collaboration in Local Authorities. March. Available here:

[2] RTPI (2020) Plan The World We Need. June. Available here:

[3] RTPI (2021) Implementing 20 Minute Neighbourhoods in Planning Policy and Practice. March. Available here:

[4] RTPI Scotland (2019) Financial Implications of Implementing the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019. August. Available here:

[5]Climate Exchange (2021) 20 Minute Neighbourhoods in a Scottish Context. March. Available here:


[7] Glasgow City Council (2020) Climate Emergency Implementation Plan - Glasgow City Council. November. Available here:

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