We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

A Brief Guide to the 2006 Scottish Planning Act


The new Planning etc (Scotland) Act 2006 is the central part of the most fundamental and comprehensive reform of our planning system in sixty years.

It will bring in a much more inclusive and efficient planning system to improve community involvement, support the economy, and help it to grow in a sustainable way.


What it does

When will it happen?

Part 1
National Planning Framework

Sets out arrangements for the preparation and publication of the National Planning Framework, a spatial plan for Scotland. It also describes the procedure for Parliamentary consideration of the Framework, and its laying before Parliament. The second National Planning Framework, due for publication in 2008, will cover the period till 2030.

In force from April 2007. Scottish Ministers have published a Participation Statement which summarises how the Framework will be prepared and how stakeholders and the public can get involved
Further information is available at: www.scotland.gov.uk/topics/planning/national-planning .

Part 2
Development plans

Replaces Part 2 of the existing Act (the 1997 Act), covering development plans. In these plans, planning authorities set out the policy framework for development of land in their areas. This part of the Act sets out provisions under which planning authorities will carry out the preparation, examination and publication of strategic development plans and local development plans.

Coming into force in 2008 following consultation on draft regulations

Part 3
Development management

Selectively amends Part 3 of the 1997 Act to bring about a range of improvements to the handling of applications for planning permission. These include:

a hierarchy of categories of development, greater public participation and scrutiny of proposals for all major developments, most EIA developments, proposals which are significantly contrary to development plans and larger scale bad neighbour developments;

revised arrangements for neighbour notification, to be carried out by planning authorities;

provisions for schemes of delegation and for the planning authority to review decisions on applications determined under a scheme of delegation;

more publicly available information on planning cases revised appeal arrangements, reducing the ability of the applicant to introduce new material;

new arrangements for planning agreements between developers and planning authorities to deliver community benefits, now called planning obligations; and

the introduction of good neighbour agreements.

Coming into force in phases during 2008 following consultation on changes to the General Development Procedure Order and General Permitted Development Order

Part 4

Introduces provisions for temporary stop notices which can be used to stop unauthorised development, fixed penalties for a range of breaches of planning control and enforcement charters in which planning authorities will set out how they intend to carrry out their enforcement role.

Coming into force in 2008 following consultation on draft regulations

Part 5

Updates and amends the provisions in the 1997 Act relating to the protection of trees through Tree Preservation Orders.

Coming into force in 2008 following consultation on draft regulations

Part 6
Correction of errors

Introduces new provisions to allow the correction of errors in official decision letters.

Coming into force in 2008

Part 7

Introduces new powers for the Scottish Ministers to assess the performance of planning authorities in carrying out their planning functions.

Likely to be in force by end 2007

Part 8
Financial provisions

Amends existing provisions in the 1997 Act relating to fees and charges, and to enable grants to be made for advice and assistance to those who use the planning system.

New fee structure likely during 2008

Part 9
Business improvement districts

Introduces provisions to allow local businesses to invest collectively in improvements to the area in which they operate.

Coming into force April 2007

Part 10
Miscellaneous and general

Contains provisions for National Scenic Areas, which designate areas of outstanding landscape and cultural heritage, an explicit equal opportunities duty on Scottish Ministers and planning authorities and minor amendments, repeals of existing legislation and commencements of this Act.

Coming into force by 2008

Further information is available on the Executive's Modernising the Planning System webpage at:www.scotland.gov.uk/topics/planning/modernisingor contact the Planning Helpline on 08457 741 741