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The Planning System in Scotland

national planning framework 3 logo The planning system is used to make decisions about the future development and use of land in our towns, cities and countryside. It considers where development should happen, where it should not and how development affects its surroundings. The system balances different interests to make sure that land is used and developed in a way that creates high quality, sustainable places.

Scotland's planning system has undergone the most significant modernisation in over 60 years. The overall aim is delivery of a planning service that is efficient, inclusive, fit for purpose and sustainable.

There are 3 main parts to the planning system :

  • Development Plans - The planning system in Scotland is plan led. The plans set out how places should change into the future.
  • Development Management - This is the process for making decisions on planning applications. Legislation requires that decisions on planning applications be guided by policies in the development plan.
  • Enforcement - This is the process that makes sure development is carried out correctly and which can be used to take action when it has not.

Further information is available in the Guide to the Planning System in Scotland , Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) Briefing on Town and Country Planning in Scotland.

Consultation on Public Engagement for Wind Turbine Proposals - Good Practice Guidance

In response to the Public Petition PE1469 the Scottish Government has agreed to prepare guidance on good practice community engagement methods for wind energy development proposals. The petition was lodged with the Scottish Parliament on March 19, 2013 and closed by the Local Government & Regeneration Committee on August 20, 2014.

This consultation seeks responses to the questions set out within the draft guidance document. This allows stakeholders an opportunity to comment on the content of the guidance. Comments will be taken into account before the document is finalised in Spring 2015.  Consultation closes on December 15, 2014.

Planning Links

Web Review 2014

National Planning Framework 3 & Scottish Planning Policy

The Scottish Government published finalised versions of Scotland's third National Planning Framework (NPF3) and Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) on June 23, 2014.


Bicycle Rack at The Gyle



New fees structure comes into effect on November 1, 2014

The Amendment Regulations implement an increase across the board of approximately 5%.

PAS LogoWith core activities supported by a grant from the Scottish Government, PAS (formerly Planning Aid for Scotland) provides independent advice on planning and environmental matter


SAQP Shortlisted Entries: Pen Pictures

A series of short articles highlighting each of the 29 shortlisted projects for this year’s Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning. Follow #SAQP2014 on Twitter.