Our parks and greenspaces have never been more important as we recover from the pandemic and take action to tackle the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.

Just before Christmas, Scottish Government launched a consultation on draft regulations for Open Spaces Strategies and Play Sufficiency Assessments. The new duties on preparing play sufficiency assessments and open space strategies are part of Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 and the consultation sets out an outcomes-based approach.

Tom Arthur MSP, Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth said:

“It’s vital to think about the full range of multifunctional benefits green infrastructure and play opportunities can offer us as a society. The benefits include supporting early years development and education, improving health and well-being, creating safe and happy neighbourhoods, as well as contributing to the environment, biodiversity and climate resilience.

Open space and play areas are a key part of placemaking and in ensuring our places are distinctive, beautiful, inclusive, greener, healthier and more resilient to climate change. Open space strategies and play sufficiency assessments, will have an important role in delivering on our policy ambitions. They can help facilitate significant expansion of green infrastructure, and support 20 minute neighbourhoods with access to open space and places to play.

We also want to help address inequalities in access to pleasant open spaces and enjoyable places for all children to play outdoors. This is why we want to provide meaningful opportunities through the regulations for people and children to get involved and express their views on the level and quality of provision of open space and opportunities to play in their local area.”

greenspace scotland welcomes this consultation. We advocated for open space strategies in the round table evidence session with the Scottish Parliament Local Government & Communities Committee, and work with MSPs subsequently led to new duties on Open Space Strategies and Play Sufficiency Assessments being included in the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019. greenspace scotland has been working with Scottish Government and partners, chairing the working group which has supported the development of these proposals.

This is an important opportunity to respond to proposals and draft regulations for open space strategies and play sufficiency assessments. The consultation covers: an outcomes-based approach, definitions, information to be included in audits, size thresholds, quality and accessibility, identifying strategic green networks, assessing current and future needs, review periods, consultation and engagement.

We encourage all organisations, groups and individuals with an interest in open space, parks, greenspace and play to respond to this consultation.

Read and respond to the consultation   Consultation closes on 31 March 2022

Read Blog by Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth