Open space law to tackle obesity

Scotland is tackling its rising obesity levels with a new law that will require each council to prepare an open space strategy to protect and improve open spaces in and around sports and recreation facilities.

The law will come into force on 1 January as part of the new Scottish Planning Policy 11: Open Space and Physical Activity, issued last week. The move will protect existing valued open space and identify requirements for new and improved spaces. The strategies will inform decisions on proposals in each council’s development plan. Planning minister Stewart Stevenson said: “We are determined to create a greener and healthier Scotland. Open spaces, where people can enjoy a variety of sporting and recreational activities, are vital. “By strengthening protection for existing open spaces we will ensure that the future needs of all our communities are provided for. In devising their own strategies, councils will be better equipped to manage, protect and enhance open spaces within their areas.” Each strategy will have to be reviewed every five years, reflecting new timescales for development planning in Scotland’s modernised planning system. Following responses to the consultation on the draft planning policy, there will not be nationally set minimum standards for the quantity of open space in new developments.

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