Publication - Advice and guidance

Compulsory purchase orders and acquiring authorities: guidance on how Scottish Ministers consider CPOs

Published: 26 Apr 2018

CPOGNAA/004 Fourth in a series of guidance notes intended to provide information for acquiring authorities with no, or limited experience of, compulsory purchase orders (CPOs). This contains guidance on how Scottish ministers consider CPOs.

Compulsory purchase orders and acquiring authorities: guidance on how Scottish Ministers consider CPOs
Guidance for Acquiring Authorities

Guidance for Acquiring Authorities


Acquiring Authorities


Guidance for Acquiring Authorities: How do Scottish Ministers consider a Compulsory Purchase Order?

Issued by:

Scottish Government: Planning and Architecture Division

Ref No:


The Scottish Government considers powers to purchase land compulsorily to be an important tool for local authorities and other public bodies (collectively referred to as Acquiring Authorities) to use to acquire land needed to enable projects that are in the public interest to proceed, where this would otherwise not be possible.

In particular Ministers consider compulsory purchase powers to be important for helping to deliver housing, development and regeneration that create high quality places where people want to live, work and invest. Such projects will deliver social, economic and environmental improvement for the public benefit and, used properly, these powers can aid effective and efficient regeneration, the revitalisation of communities, and the promotion of inclusive economic growth.

Authorities are therefore encouraged to consider using their powers pro-actively when necessary and appropriate to ensure real gains are brought to communities without delay.

The Scottish Government vision for compulsory purchase is for:

" A clear, accessible, consistent, effective and efficient system of legislation and policy which allows for the compulsory acquisition and purchase of legal interests in land and property for the public benefit. The provisions relating to any compensation should be fair and transparent and allow for timeous settlement."

This series of guidance notes are primarily aimed at Acquiring Authorities and are intended to provide information for those with no, or limited, experience of compulsory purchase. They comprise both good practice advice and guidance on the legal and procedural requirements that must be met at each stage of the Compulsory Purchase Order ( CPO) process.

These notes draw from and are intended to complement Planning Circular 6/2011 ( /publications/scottish-planning-series-planning-circular-6-2011-compulsory-purchase-orders/) which provides more detailed, technical advice on some aspects of the CPO process and which authorities may wish to continue to refer to.

These notes are intended to be read sequentially as follows:

  • CPOGNAA/001 Can I use Compulsory Purchase?
  • CPOGNAA/002 What should I do before developing a Compulsory Purchase Order?
  • CPOGNAA/003 How do I prepare and submit a Compulsory Purchase Order?
  • CPOGNAA/004 How do Scottish Ministers consider a Compulsory Purchase Order?
  • CPOGNAA/005 Confirmed Orders – Next Steps

This fourth note in the series is intended to help Acquiring Authorities understand how they should go about submitting a CPO to Scottish Ministers for determination and how they will go about reaching their decision.

Whilst the general advice, guidance and principles contained in these notes will be applicable to all bodies with compulsory purchase powers it should be noted that Compulsory Purchase Orders promoted by Scottish Ministers or their Agencies are processed under distinct procedures which, while broadly similar, may differ in some regards. Furthermore, certain bodies can be empowered to purchase land compulsorily through special Acts of Parliament, or via other processes ( e.g. through Transport and Works Act Orders).

Where necessary this guidance identifies instances where aspects of the process vary, but it does not seek to be comprehensive. Separate guidance is available for these specialist processes – for example for compulsory purchase related to Trunk Road projects promoted by Transport Scotland (

This guidance is not intended to be either prescriptive or definitive. It is also not intended to replace specialist legal advice.