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Scottish Government

Scottish ParliamentMinisters


The Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights,
Alex Neil MSP , has responsibility for the land use planning system.

The Minister for Local Government & Community Empowerment is Marco Biagi MSP

The SNP 2011 election manifesto includes a number of commitments relevant to planning.

Key responsibilities of Planning and Architecture Division

John McNairney, Chief Planner, Scottish GovernmentPlanning and Architecture Division is part of Directorate for Local Government and Communities.

As the Scottish Government's Chief Planner and head of Planning and Architecture Division, John McNairney has the principal role in ensuring that Scotland’s build environment is effective and fit for purpose. Leading to facilitate change, support economic recovery and create better places, his team of specialist planners, architects, environmental professionals and generalist policy managers work with specific responsibilities:


  • Maintaining and developing planning legislation.
  • Representing SG interests in development plans, notified applications, recalled appeals and other casework that comes before Scottish Ministers.
  • Preparing and monitoring delivery of the National Planning Framework.
  • Providing clear and proportionate planning policy and advice.
  • Facilitating the dissemination of good practice.
  • Promoting high quality design and place making.
  • Leading and co-ordinating the implementation of e-Planning.

Planning and Architecture Divisions publishes an annual Service Improvement Plan. This reports on it's performance for the previous year and the intended improvements for the following year.


Mediation is a process, involving a neutral, independent, trained facilitator. A mediator assists parties with differences to communicate effectively, understand the underlying issues, assess risk and consider options to enable them to resolve their differences.

In 2008 the Scottish Government, as part of a wide ranging reform of the planning system, commissioned a users guide to assist those with an interest in Mediation. This can be used in a number of circumstances and for different outcomes. It can be used to help build consensus, as with Government or Planning Authority consultations, and it is also a successful method in resolving disputes.

Further details are available in A Guide to the Use of Mediation in the Planning System in Scotland.