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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 matters

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.

Planning Links


Aberdeen Harbour

Links & Information

Planning Performance Annual Report 2013-14 online

Do you need to contact us regarding Planning Decisions? We now have a new email


RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence

On April 2, 2015  it was announced that work on National Planning Framework 3 and Scottish Planning Policy had been nominated in two categories in the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence.

More information is available on all the projects, including five from Scotland.

RTPI award logo

Eplanning Scotland

More than 60% of all applications and appeals are now being submitted online through the eplanning portal

100,000th application submitted.Currently processing average of 2,200 applications and appeals each month.

SAQP 2015

Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning 2015 applications are available to view.
Follow developments #SAQP2015 on Twitter.