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.
Significant development in the form of new buildings, changes to the use and appearance of existing buildings and other changes to the way land is used often requires planning permission.
Some development does not require a planning application as legislation specifies it as 'permitted development' on the basis of being, for example, either minor or uncontroversial development or associated with the existing use of land or buildings.
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 and also Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) Briefing on Town and Country Planning in Scotland
The primary responsibility for the delivery of the planning service lies with local and national park authorities. Other key stakeholders include : Applicants, consultants, the Scottish Government, national agencies and communities with shared interests.
Significant reforms have taken place to the planning system in recent years to deliver a service that is efficient, inclusive, fit for purpose and sustainable :
Processes have changed in many areas of the system through planning legislation.