Simplifying the planning process

Updating permitted development rights in response to cost and climate challenges.

New measures to simplify the planning process for zero and low carbon technologies will help homeowners and businesses save money and reduce their emissions.

Permitted development rights grant permission for certain developments through legislation, meaning they can be undertaken without a planning application. They remove the costs associated with submitting applications and reduce administrative burdens on planning authorities. Legislation that will further update these rights has now been laid before parliament following a consultation last year.

People who live in conservation areas, including those in cities, will be able to more easily alter or replace their windows to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. They will also be able to install solar panels on certain parts of their property without a planning application for the first time.

Limits on the power output of panels on non-domestic buildings will be removed, allowing business owners to install more of them without needing to apply for planning permission. Businesses with solar canopies in their carparks will be able to use the energy they generate for purposes such as providing energy for buildings, in addition to powering electric vehicle chargers.

Planning Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“The Scottish Government wants to make it easier and cheaper for homeowners and businesses to respond to the challenges posed by the cost of living and climate crises, including by reforming how the planning system works.

“That was the focus of the most recent phase of our ongoing review of permitted development rights, and the package of measures brought forward reflects the responses to our public consultation and constructive engagement with partners.

“Streamlining the planning process for zero and low carbon technologies is also consistent with the strong climate focus in the National Planning Framework 4, which was adopted last year. People will save money and the environment will benefit if we make it easier to install renewable energy equipment on homes and business properties.”

Scotland Policy Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses Andrew McRae said:

“We’re delighted to see the introduction of this legislation, reflecting the campaigning FSB and others have been doing on the issue for some time. Small businesses are very much aware of the role they have to play in tackling the climate emergency. At a time when the cost of doing business crisis is making it harder for businesses to stay afloat, measures to reduce energy costs will come as a great help for smaller firms.”


The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2024

The statutory instrument was laid in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 28 March 2024. Subject to parliamentary scrutiny, the changes are expected to come into effect on Friday 24 May 2024.

Permitted Development Rights review - phase 3: consultation analysis


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