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This publication has now been superseded by the Scottish Planning Policy (February 04, 2010).

Scottish Planning Policy: SPP 21: Green Belts

DescriptionSets out the objectives of green belt policy and the way in which it should be used and enforced. This policy replaces Scottish Office Circular 24/1985: Development in the Countryside and Green Belts. Policy in that Circular on development in the countryside has been superseded by SPP 3: Planning for Housing and SPP 15: Rural Development.
Official Print Publication DateApril 2006
Website Publication DateApril 27, 2006


ISBN 0 7559 6031 9
ISSN 1741 1203

This document is also available in pdf format (216k)




Managing the Growth of Towns and Cities
The changing context
SPP objectives
Related mechanisms

The Role and Function of Green Belts
What is a green belt for?
Where should green belts be designated?

Development Planning
Establishing and reviewing green belts

Development Management
Appropriate uses in green belts
Treatment of established uses
Proposals for non-conforming uses
Departures from the development plan

Managing the Green Belt Resource



Planning Series:

  • Scottish Planning Policies ( SPPs) provide statements of Scottish Executive policy on nationally important land use and other planning matters, supported where appropriate by a locational framework.
  • Circulars, which also provide statements of Scottish Executive policy, contain guidance on policy implementation through legislative or procedural change.
  • Planning Advice Notes ( PANs) provide advice on good practice and other relevant information.

Statements of Scottish Executive policy contained in SPPs and Circulars may be material considerations to be taken into account in development plan preparation and development management.

Existing National Planning Policy Guidelines ( NPPGs) have continued relevance to decision making, until such time as they are replaced by a SPP. The term SPP should be interpreted as including NPPGs.

Statements of Scottish Executive location-specific planning policy, for example the West Edinburgh Planning Framework, have the same status in decision making as SPPs.

The National Planning Framework sets out the strategy for Scotland's long-term spatial development. It has the same status as SPPs and provides a national context for development plans and planning decisions and the ongoing programmes of the Scottish Executive, public agencies and local government.

Important note: in the interests of brevity and conciseness, Scottish Planning Policies do not repeat policy across thematic boundaries. Each SPP takes account of the general policy in SPP1 and highlights the other SPPs where links to other related policy will be found. The whole series of SPPs should be taken as an integral policy suite and read together.