Planning guidance

We produce a wide range of publications, including:


We produce planning circulars which contain policy on the implementation of legislation or procedures.

Designing Streets Toolbox

We have a Designing Streets Toolbox. The Toolbox includes guidance, templates and resources collected together to aid the design and development of a proposal or masterplan. We developed some of the tools in conjunction with Transport Scotland and the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation Scotland (SCOTS).

The toolbox is a direct result of our Implementation of Designing Streets policy: research report, published in August 2013, that analysed how well street design policy was being applied across Scotland.

Letters from the Chief Planner

The Chief Planner provides guidance to the planning authorities in the form of correspondence. We've provided a list of Chief Planner letters.

Planning advice

We produce Planning Advice Notes (PANs) which provide advice on good practice and other relevant information. These PANS

We also produce planning advice on the construction of renewable energy resources

In February 2016 we published guidance on Housing and Infrastructure Delivery. This shows that planning needs to focus on the delivery of good quality places and to help to increase the supply of housing. Infrastructure investment should be co-ordinated to release the potential of development sites across the country.

We published Draft Advice on Net Economic Benefit and Planning in March 2016. The document contains draft advice to support Scottish Planning Policy (2014) on giving due weight to net economic benefit. The advice shows how the net economic benefit generated by a proposed development may be a material consideration in the planning decision making process.
We have produced our Planning Delivery Advice - Build to Rent in September 2017. The advice builds on Scottish Planning Policy which sets out the vital role of planning in delivering good quality places and supporting the right development in the right place.

Minerals guidance

We have published the following guidance relating to minerals.

Extractive waste guidance (July 2013)

Guidance to assist mineral operators and planning authorities with the preparation and consideration of the various documents that are needed to meet the requirements of the Management of Extractive Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2010. Those planning authorities carrying out inspections, as per Regulation 24 of the Management of Extractive Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2010 for extractive waste areas that can be categorised as designated for the accumulation of non-hazardous non-inert waste, hazardous waste generated unexpectedly, or are a category A waste facility should follow the technical guidelines as set in the Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2020/248 as amended by Regulation 17 of the Waste and Environmental Permitting etc. (Legislative Functions and Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.

Inventory of closed mining waste facilities (January 2015)

The inventory of closed mines provides a list of old abandoned mines and mining waste facilities which cause serious negative environmental impacts or have the potential of becoming in the medium or short term a serious threat to human health or the environment. The inventory has also been populated through consultation with local authorities, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Coal Authority.


We commission research on planning-related issues. The most recent reports are:

We also commissioned research as part of the development of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019.

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