Proposed changes to fees and introduction of phased payments
The Scottish Government is proposing to increase the existing application fee tariffs to more accurately reflect the true costs of processing each application.
We are not the only consenting authority to seek to increase fees. There has been a recent review of fees for planning applications in Scotland and for national infrastructure projects in England and Wales. In Scotland, an application for an electricity generating station with installed capacity not exceeding 50 MW made under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 will now require a fee of £125,000 if the total site area is over 52.5 hectares, whether or not an Environmental Impact Assessment is necessary. The range of fees for an application for a national infrastructure project in England and Wales is likely to be between £255,000 (for the most straightforward cases) and £830,000. Although these different fee structures are not directly comparable, our proposal is in line with a broader trend to seek fees to accurately recover the costs.
To help spread the risk associated with potentially abortive or unsuccessful application costs, we propose to introduce phased payments which bring forward payment of a proportion of the application fee to EIA screening and EIA scoping stages. This will allow us to better support applicants who wish to seek pre-application advice before deciding whether to proceed to full application stage. Fees at pre-application stage will be treated as instalments towards the fee payable at the point of submission of the application.
The fee tariff table (Table 1) at Annex 1 to this document illustrates the proposed changes to the fees structure.