Delivering an improved planning system

Added costs threaten aims of new legislation.

Planning Minister Kevin Stewart has said the significant increase in planning costs associated with the amendments made at the latest Parliamentary stage of the Planning (Scotland) Bill threaten the very aims of the legislation.

Mr Stewart was speaking as the Financial Memorandum for the Bill was published.  The memorandum shows that proposed new duties introduced at stage 2 of the Parliamentary process could increase costs to planning authorities by up to £75 million and more than £400 million for business.

Mr Stewart said the Scottish Government is currently considering how best to remove unnecessary burdens at stage 3 of the process.  He said:

“Our aim in bringing forward this Bill was to streamline planning and create savings that could be redirected towards working with communities and developers to achieve real and positive change for our places.  

“Throughout the stage 2 process I made it clear that it wasn’t simply amendments being added to the Bill, it was added costs, added bureaucracy.  The Financial Memorandum paints a stark picture.

“As things currently stand, we risk losing the savings that could have been achieved through streamlining, and creating millions of pounds of new costs for planning authorities.  It is difficult to see who benefits from that.  As the Royal Town Planning Institute has said, the burden of new duties could see the system grind to a halt.

“Many MSPs have indicated their willingness to work constructively to rescue this Bill, and I am grateful to those who have already engaged with me.  Returning this Bill to a shape that allows it to support inclusive growth will require co-operation.

“My aim remains as it always was – a Bill that supports the ability of the planning system to create quality places with the housing, infrastructure and investment that people need.  I hope that others support that aim.”


More information on the Planning Bill is available here.

The Financial Memorandum is available here.


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