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Salmond Stresses"Sustainabilty" in Holyrood Palace Address

June 5 2008

The "Sustainable Places: A Scottish Future" conference was held in the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh today (Thursday) and the Scottish Government said that First Minister Alex Salmond wished to stress the Scottish Government's "determination to develop sustainable communities which match Scotland's lasting and distinctive character."

The conference was jointly organised by The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, Scottish Business in the Community and the Scottish Government to consider Scotland's future planning and development needs.

Salmond said that plans to update Scotland's planning framework, while increasing the rate of house building in Scotland to at least 35,000 per year, "present a chance to get communities involved in designing the future."

"After decades of relative economic underperformance, we want to create a more prosperous Scotland by increasing the rate of sustainable economic growth - to create a country where everyone has the opportunity to flourish," he said.

"We need to have the right environmental conditions to achieve Scotland's potential. That means allowing the needs, opportunities and rich history that surround us to inspire modern building solutions. By encouraging design that serves the environment and improves people's lives - we can make Scotland a more attractive place to do business.

Salmond also addressed the work of the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, which he said was "a testament to what can be achieved by encouraging people to participate in the development of sustainable neighbourhoods,". HRH Prince Charles was in attendance for the First Minister's address.

"Their work on projects, from Ballater to Jamaica, prove how people's lives can be improved by their built environment. The Enquiry by Design process, the collaborative planning approach devised by The Foundation, is of great interest as we work to develop a Scottish planning framework that engages with everyone involved," Salmond said.

"The discussion draft of a new National Planning Framework, launched in January, set out our ambition to create a more consistent, more responsive system. In taking that work forward we will be keen to draw in the experiences of The Foundation in applying the shared principles of community involvement and inclusion.

"We are also working to meet Scotland's housing needs with a target to increase housing supply to 35,000 new homes every year by the middle of the next decade - a 40 per cent increase on current levels. And we have made a commitment to ensure that those homes are delivered to higher environmental and design standards than in the past.

"This Government has consistently taken a social partnership approach to delivering for Scotland. By working with businesses, government, the Third Sector and civic institutions we are able to design solutions that recognise the needs of those we serve and our responsibilities to them. By taking the same approach to developing Scotland's built environment - learning from the Enquiry by Design model and putting local communities at the heart of the design process- we can make Scotland the place to be.

"It is within attractive and sustainable communities that our economic expansion plans will come to life."

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