1.3 Objectives and scope

The comprehensive objectives of physical planning are stated in the introductory section of the Planning and Building Act. The provisions aim, with due regard to the individual's right to freedom, at promoting societal progress towards equal and good living conditions and a good and lasting sustainable environment for the benefit of the people of today's society as well as of future generations.

The fact that planning the use of land and water areas is a matter for the municipality is established already in the second section of the law. More precise objectives of different planning tasks are determined and stated independently by the municipalities. Objectives for the municipal planning that are set by the state can primarily be found in laws and ordinances decided by the Riksdag. Chapter 2 of the Planning and Building Act is the primary source for this but chapters 3 and 4 of the Environmental Code are also important. The central government agencies, in consultation with county administrative boards, issue closer instructions regarding the national interests that are indicated in these chapters. The most important government agencies are the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Heritage Board and the Swedish Roads Administration. The National Board of Housing, Building and Planning provides advice for planning and best practice examples. However, there is no obligation to follow this advice. Books on comprehensive planning and detailed development planning that are published by the National Board for Housing, Building and Planning are applied to a great extent.

Legislation provides detailed rules concerning the handling of plans and the municipalities are obliged to follow these. This concerns, among other things, the forms and ways of public influence and consultations. If these rules are not followed, an adopted plan can be declared invalid. The Government can influence municipal planning by way of subsidies for certain types of housing or installations but do not provide other objectives for physical planning.