Policy & Lobbying
Planning Policy

 The overall aim of the Scottish Planning System is delivery of a planning service that is efficient, inclusive, fit for purpose and sustainable.

There are three main parts to the planning system:

  • Development Plans
    which set out how places should change and also set out the policies used to make decisions about planning applications.
  • Development Management
    the process for making decisions about planning applications.
  • Enforcement
    the process that makes sure that development is carried out correctly and takes action when development happens without permission or when conditions have not been followed.

Each council area in Scotland is covered by a local development plan, which sets out where most new developments are proposed and the policies that will guide decision-making on planning applications.

If you live in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow or any of the following council areas - Aberdeenshire, Angus, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Fife, Inverclyde, Midlothian, North Lanarkshire, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, South Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire or West Lothian - there will also be a strategic development plan covering all or part of your area. The strategic development plan sets out the long-term development of the city region and deals with region-wide issues such as housing and transport.

Councils can also prepare supplementary guidance. A wealth of information on the planning system is available on the Scottish Government website. 

After significant representation by Scottish Land & Estates, local authorities across Scotland are adopting the positive messages set out with the consolidated Scottish Planning Policy. Supportive planning policy is critical to rural development whether for housing or business and diversification.

Scottish Land & Estates can provide advice and support to members on planning policy issues but is unable to advise on individual planning applications.
 

Scottish Land & Estates Responds to Amendments to the Modernised Planning System

Scottish Land & Estates recently responded to the Scottish Government's consultation entitled Amendments to the Modernised Planning System. Scottish Land & Estates is supportive of the majority of the proposals contained within the consultation, although has advised that the proposed amendments will not address the issues being experienced  in relation to neighbour notification and bare land.
 
Letter from Chief Planner on Affordable Housing  

The Scottish Government's Chief Planner, Jim Mackinnon, has written to all local authorities regarding affordable housing policies and the importance of these reflecting the current economic climate.

    Planning Policy News

    • 20/01/2016 - Planning Review Online Forum
      As part of the ongoing review of the planning system the Scottish Government has launched an online forum for anyone with an interest in the Scottish planning system to discuss their thoughts and ideas. The forum is open until the 8th February.
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    • 02/12/2015 - Landowners welcome review of planning system
        Ensuring flexibility in rural planning policies should be a key tenet of future changes to Scotland’s planning system, landowners have said.   Scottish Land & Estates
      read more...

    • 25/06/2015 - Housebuilding Survey Results
      Brodies solicitors has published research results regarding the state of the housebuilding industry in Scotland. The most significant barrier to development was identified as delays in consenting (47.5% respondents) and 37.5% of respondents felt a relaxation of planning restrictions would provide the most help to meeting h
      read more...

    • 11/12/2014 - Plans to require planning authority approval of tracks for agricultural or forestry operations are delayed
      The Scottish Government had planned to introduce The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Order 2014 as a Scottish Statutory Instrument, with effect from 15th December 2014. However, Cameron Buchanan MSP has successfully delayed its implementation until January 2015, pend
      read more...

    • 26/06/2014 - Landowners React to New Scottish Planning Objectives
      Scottish Land & Estates has issued its reaction to the rural development sections within the newly published National Planning Framework 3 (NPF3) and Scottish Planning Policy (SPP). Released by the Scottish Government on Monday, together NPF3 and SPP will shape long term economic
      read more...

    • 16/10/2013 - European Parliament votes in favour of EIA changes
      The European Parliament has voted in favour of proposals to revise Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. In welcoming the outcome of the vote, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “I welcome the outcome o
      read more...

    • 08/10/2013 - Committee supports linking planning fees to performance
      The Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee has this week backed plans to link planning fees to the performance of planning authorities as part of the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Bill. A summary of the main points raised and recommendations made related to plann
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    • 26/09/2013 - Changes to building standards
      Minister for Planning, Derek Mackay has announced that from October 2015, improvement to new homes will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 21% when compared to the current levels. These measures will also affect new non-domestic buildings such as shops a
      read more...

    • 30/07/2013 - Scottish Land & Estates calls for greater support from the planning system
      In response to the draft Scottish Planning Policy (SPP), Scottish Land & Estates has encouraged the Scottish Government to support rural development across Scotland. Summary of response: Development plans must be deliverable
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    • 30/07/2013 - Scottish Land & Estates makes comment on Next Planning Framework
      Scottish Land & Estates has this week submitted views on the National Planning Framework 3 Main Issues Report. In our response, we encourage the Scottish Government to work with the rural sector in meeting national objectives. Summary of response:
      read more...

    • 19/06/2013 - Share Your Experiences of the Scottish Planning System
      Scottish Land & Estates is seeking views from members on their experience using the Scottish planning system. We are currently preparing responses on the draft Scottish Planning Policy and National Planning Framework 3 Main Issues Report and would like to suppleme
      read more...

    • 02/05/2013 - New vision for Scotland's future development
        The third National Planning Framework (NPF3) and draft Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) will influence development plans across Scotland and guide future planning decisions on a range of sectors including transport, energy and infrastructure.
      read more...

    • 02/05/2013 - Plans for new Scottish town approved
        Aberdeenshire council has given the green light to an application from Elsick Development Company for the creation of a £2 billion new town which will provide up to 8,000 new homes.    Scottish Land & Estates' member Lord Southesk, director of Elsic
      read more...

    • 21/03/2013 - Views sought on Environmental Impact Assessments
      Scottish MEP, Struan Stevenson has urged communities and businesses from across the UK to contact him with their concerns about the role of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) in the planning system, following
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    • 31/01/2013 - Changes to planning fees
      Draft regulations to increase planning application fees by approximately 20% are to be laid in the Scottish Parliament this week. If approved by Parliament these regulations would come into force on 6 April 2013. The policy team will track Parliamentary scrutiny of the regulat
      read more...

    • 17/01/2013 - Scottish Land & Estates responds to planning policy review
      Scottish Land & Estates has submitted comments as part of the Scottish Government’s review of Scottish Planning Policy. Main points include: Support for SPP to have statutory status Better alignment is required between the National Planning Framework and other key policy documents such as th
      read more...

    • 19/12/2012 - Way Forward Agreed for Planning
      Following consultation earlier this year, Minister for Local Government and Planning, Derek Mackay, has announced a number of changes to the Scottish planning system as part of continued reform. Under an agreement, which is subject to parliamentary approval changes include: planning fees to increase by
      read more...

    • 06/12/2012 - REMINDER - Scottish Planning Policy and National Planning Framework review
      The Scottish Government is reviewing two documents which are key to the operation of the Scottish planning system. The National Planning Framework (NPF) sets the context for development
      read more...

    • 01/11/2012 - Scottish Planning Policy and National Planning Framework review
      The Scottish Government is reviewing two documents which are key to the operation of the Scottish planning system. The National Planning Framework (NPF) sets the context for development planning.  It provides a framework for the spatial development of Scotland as a whole for the next 20-30 years. Sco
      read more...

    • 02/07/2012 - Landowners Call for Commonsense Approach To Farm And Forestry Tracks Regulation
      Scottish Land & Estates has called for fewer bureaucratic burdens to be placed on those who wish to create and maintain farm and forestry tracks in Scotland. Responding to the Scottish Government’s current consultation on Permitted Development Rights for farm and forestry access tracks, Policy Officer Anne Gray said
      read more...

    • 27/06/2012 - Scottish Land & Estates responds to planning reform consultations
      Scottish Land & Estates has submitted comments to five Scottish Government consultations aimed at continuing planning reform, helping the planning system reach its potential in supporting economic recovery. Our key comments were in relation to: Removal of permitted development over hill tracks
      read more...

    • 29/03/2012 - Streamlining the planning system
      Planning Minister Derek Mackay has this week outlined plans to improve efficiency and streamline the planning system, including linking increases in fees to improved performance by planning authorities. In a statement to Parliament, he launched a series of consultations and measures to take planning forward following
      read more...

    • 02/02/2012 - The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2011
      The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2011 was laid before Parliament on October 14, 2011. The amendments to householder permitted development rights will come into force on 6 February 2012. For details see
      read more...

    • 21/12/2011 - Sustainable village plans for the north-east
      Plans for Scotland's first sustainable village bring together new technologies and a passion for social purpose. The Kincluny Development Trust social
      read more...

    • 14/11/2011 - SESplan Strategic Development Plan Authority - Proposed Plan
      SESplan has launched a Period of Representations on the Proposed Plan, Action Programme and Environmental Report and welcomes views until 5pm on the 19th of December 2011. During this time, you can view the documents and supporting Technical Notes on this website or
      read more...

    • 09/11/2011 - Programme for planning
      Planning Minister Aileen Campbell this week announced a consultation early next year on proposed changes to planning fees. The proposed changes to fees envisage a new, proportionate structure ensuring fees reflect the cost of dealing with planning applications. This will be complemented by a continued focus on performance, in
      read more...

    • 09/11/2011 - Programme for planning
      Planning Minister Aileen Campbell this week announced a consultation early next year on proposed changes to planning fees. The proposed changes to fees envisage a new, proportionate structure ensuring fees reflect the cost of dealing with planning applications. This will be complemented by a contin
      read more...

    • 03/11/2011 - Right to have buidling appeals heard removed
      Changes to legislation due to come into force on December 1, 2011 will remove the automatic right to be heard in appeal cases and applications called-in for determination by Scottish Ministers in relation to listed building and conservation area consent cases. The default duration of such consents will also be reduced from
      read more...

    • 02/11/2011 - Planning Case Studies
      Over 60 case studies of the new planning system in action are now available on the Scottish Government webstie. These cover a wide range of aspects of the new system including:
      read more...

    • 16/09/2011 - Cost of Planning Increasing Says Audit Scotland Report
      A recently Audit Scotland report published , Modernising the planning system, assesses whether recent reform of the planning system is making it more economic, efficient and effective. The report finds that, while public bodies involved in planning are now working better
      read more...

    • 29/07/2011 - Section 75 Planning Obligations - Letter to Heads of Planning
      Following the introduction of the formal process for modification or discharge of a planning obligation, the Chief Planner, Jim Mackinnon, has issued a letter to planning authorities clarifying that applications may be made to modify or discharge agreements made un
      read more...

    • 01/07/2011 - The potential of development charges in the Scottish Planning System
      A report has been published by the Scottish Government, which provides the findings of a five month research study from Autumn 2010 to Spring 2011 on the potential of development charges in the Scottish Planning System. The Scottish Government states that the financing o
      read more...


Initiative shows how wildlife management by Scottish landowners delivers many benefits to communities...
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Scottish Land & Estates believes that the debate about the future of rural policy...
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