This class covers information relating to Planning, Housing, Regeneration and Building.
The Building (Scotland) Act 2003 gives Ministers the power to make building regulations to:
- secure the health, safety, welfare and convenience of persons in or about buildings and of others who may be affected by buildings or matters connected with buildings;
- further the conservation of fuel and power;
- and further the achievement of sustainable development.
The purpose of the building standards system, which is administered and enforced by Scottish local authorities, is to protect the public interest. The system, therefore, does not so much control building as set out the essential standards to be met when building work or a conversion takes place, and only to the extent necessary to meet the building regulations.
The key functions of Scottish Building Standards (SBS) are as follows:
- prepare the building regulations and write guidance on how to meet the regulations;
- provide views on compliance to help verifiers (currently local authorities) make decisions;
- grant relaxations of the regulations in exceptional cases;
- maintain a register of Approved Certifiers;
- monitor and audit the certification system;
- monitor and audit the performance of verifiers;
- to verify Crown building work.
Information is available as follows -
- Scottish Building Standards Technical Handbooks
- Home Improvement Guidance
- Procedural Handbook
- Scottish Building Standards Research Programme and Sustainability Policy
- Scottish Building Standards Views
- Certification handbook
- Updates on Crown verification issues
- Verifier Audit information
Housing and Regeneration
The Scottish Government's policies for, and direct investment in, housing and regeneration contribute to the Government's Purpose and Strategic Objectives by:
- increasing the supply of good quality, sustainable housing
- tackling fuel poverty
- supporting large-scale projects to achieve the comprehensive regeneration of targeted areas.
In addition, the Government works with local government and other partners to tackle and prevent homelessness; provide housing support and advice services; and to provide targeted regeneration action to tackle poverty in the most disadvantaged communities.
Information on the following is available:
- Housing supply and demand, including the work of the Housing Supply Task Force (which was established in 2007 to consider how issues that are hampering the delivery of housing of all tenures in Scotland can be addressed in the short term); and guidance for local authorities on how to assess housing needs and demands;
- Housing quality, including the Scottish House Condition Survey and the Scottish Housing Quality Standard;
- Information for tenants of local authorities and registered social landlords, including rights, responsibilities and information on tenant participation;
- Rented housing provided by local authorities and registered social landlords, including information on the Government's proposals to offer better quality, choice and value for money for tenants and taxpayers;
- Publications and guides for statutory and voluntary agencies to assist them provide good quality and accurate housing, money and welfare related benefits advice to consumers and service users across Scotland;
- Through the Scottish Government statistics website, information on how to access statistics relating to housing and regeneration, including information on public sector house sales, new house building, local authority lettings and evictions, homelessness, special needs housing, public sector stock and vacancy rates;
- Assistance to first time buyers through the Low Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT) which will provide a range of assistance and products, including shared equity schemes;
- Private housing, including the reforms being introduced to the buying and selling process (known as the Home Report), and changes to the system of encouraging and helping owners to maintain, repair or improve their homes, or adapt them to meet the needs of disabled people;
- Private rented house - including information for landlords and tenants on, for example, landlord registration, licensing of Houses for Multiple Occupation, Housing Benefit and the Rent Registration Service;
- The Mortgage to Rent Scheme, which helps people in danger of having their homes repossessed to stay in their homes as tenants of a social landlord;
- The Government's policies for addressing fuel poverty and improving the energy efficiency of the housing stock;
- The Government's policies for tackling and preventing homelessness, including the statutory commitment that, by 2012, every unintentionally homeless person will be entitled to settled accommodation;
- Housing Support Services to enable vulnerable people to live independently in their own homes;
- Policies to regenerate communities, including: Urban Regeneration Companies which have been established to achieve the comprehensive regeneration of targeted areas; the Fairer Scotland Fund which tackles poverty and deprivation and helps overcome the barriers to work; community engagement and empowerment initiatives; and action taken to improve practice and skills in regeneration.
As part of the Government's commitment to simplify the public sector landscape, Communities Scotland ceased to exist on 1 April 2008, and a new and expanded Housing and Regeneration Directorate has been established within Government. The Communities Scotland website has been archived and is still available to access. The housing and regeneration section of the Scottish Government's website is being reviewed and redeveloped. The housing regulation and inspection functions of Communities Scotland have been transferred to a new agency, the Scottish Housing Regulator, which has its own website, and is developing its own Publication Scheme.
The planning system plays a central role in supporting Scotland's sustainable economic growth. It is fundamental in shaping our cities, towns and rural areas and is vital to the future development of Scotland. It often has to balance competing and conflicting demands to ensure that land is used in the best way for everyone's long-term interest. The National Planning Framework is the long term strategy for the development of Scotland over the next 25 years. Development plans lie at the heart of the planning system, providing a clear vision of how our places should develop and containing policies for the future development and use of land in an area. Decisions on applications for planning permission should be made in accordance with the terms of the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
In the main, local authorities are the planning authorities for their areas. They are generally best placed to make choices on future development within their own areas, and so are responsible for preparing development plans and making decisions on the vast majority of planning applications. However, the Scottish Government has several key roles to play within the planning system, such as:
- maintaining and developing the law on planning
- providing policy and advice on key policy subjects and on procedures
- preparing the National Planning Framework
- approving structure plans
- making decisions on some major planning applications and on appeals
The Scottish Government publishes substantial information relating to its role in planning and building on its website, including a wide range of publications such as consultation papers and policy documents along with details of development proposals being considered by the Scottish Government.
In particular, information on the following is available:
- Modernising the planning system
- e-planning - the electronic delivery of the planning service
- National Planning Framework
- Scottish Planning Policy (SPPs), Planning Advice Notes (PANs) and Circulars
- Planning research programme
- Planning applications and appeals currently under consideration by the Scottish Government
- Decisions made on planning applications and appeals and the reasons for those decisions
- Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning and Designing Places Awards
- Architecture Policy Statements
Where the information within this class can be located
This class of information can be located within the ' Built Environment' section of the Scottish Government website or through one of the alternative routes described under section 5 of this scheme.