Review of planning welcomed by Scottish Ministers

Crucial actions to be taken as part of planning sector reform.

The Scottish Government will reform planning to help deliver more homes and speed up the planning process, Housing and Planning Minister Kevin Stewart has announced.

Building on the momentum that gathered during the work of the independent planning review panel, the Scottish Government has identified 10 immediate actions including:

  • Extending permitted development rights – where planning permission is not needed - to more types of development. This could mean removing uncontroversial minor developments from the system, as well as using permitted development to encourage developments which support low carbon living and digital infrastructure. de
  • Strengthening skills and capacity, and consulting on enhanced fees to ensure planning authorities are better resourced to deliver more homes.
  • Improving planning performance, ensuring users of the system receive a better service.
  • Introducing pilot simplified planning zones for housing, so that planning permission is granted for housing up front, allowing developments to progress more quickly and flexibly.
  • Identifying how digital transformation of the planning service can be taken to another level, using tools including the web and 3D visualisations to make information about how our places will evolve over time much easier to access and understand.

The Scottish Government will work with local authorities, developers and community groups to develop more detailed proposals for reform, which will be fully consulted on later this year. This will pave the way for a new Planning Bill to be brought forward to the Scottish Parliament in 2017. The programme of work will deliver more community engagement to ensure that more people can get actively involved in shaping the future of the places where they live and new and better tools to assist housing delivery.

Mr Stewart said:

“Planning affects everyone’s lives, from ensuring that we have enough of the right types of homes in the right locations, to driving forward regeneration and supporting business development which provides jobs.

“It is clear from the recommendations of the independent panel, and the feedback from local authorities, developers and communities, that our planning system can do more for Scotland.

“I firmly believe that Scotland's planners can lead the delivery of great places, empower communities and provide a stable environment for investment through the uncertain times we live in.

“I welcome the positive report produced by the panel and am impressed that public and private interests in planning are willing to work together and with government to make changes happen. We must now work together to ensure our planning system is best placed to support economic growth and house-building, whilst protecting and enhancing the quality of life of all our communities.

“We will now develop proposals for further reform of the planning system over the coming months and will bring forward consultation proposals by the end of the year. The review’s proposed outcomes – including strong and flexible development plans, more high quality homes and collaboration rather than conflict – are all aims we share.”

Notes to editors

The full Scottish Government response will be available from Monday 11 July at


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