Infrastructure Investment Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26: Programme pipeline update (September 2022)

This pipeline update provides information relating to the delivery of key major infrastructure programmes included at Annex D of our Infrastructure Investment Plan published in February 2021 and other ongoing key major infrastructure programmes.

Sector: Planning / Land reform

Programme name: Digital Planning

Programme description: Development of a new, open-access, digital planning system to attract future investment, increase community participation and support place-making in Scotland.

Estimated total investment: £35 million.

How is programme being funded: Capital funded.

Programme delivery timetable: 2021-2026.

Latest programme progress: The 5-year programme to digitally transform planning is progressing. The programme was launched in March 2021 and has now entered delivery phase. This will drive efficiencies, streamline services to improve the capacity of planning authorities, and deliver significant economic benefits. Programme governance arrangements have been established to support delivery.

Work is underway to deliver a first version of a new Planning and Building Gateway, the 'digital front-door' to planning and building standard by summer 2023.

Work has begun on a new payment function to improve the user experience for business, applicants and local government will get underway with early adopters from August 2023 and full roll out expected to complete by August 2024.

The first phase of delivering an improved application process for planning and building consents, shifting to a more innovative, smart process which makes better use of data to streamline and make the application process easier to understand and navigate for users is expected to be complete by summer 2023.

A new single payment system will be introduced by summer 2023. This will make the process more user-friendly and less time-consuming for the people and businesses who use it.

A Digital Skills and Capability Programme for the planning profession is being developed in collaboration with the Royal Town Planning Institute and it is intended that implementation will complete by Summer 2023.

The Placebuilder digital engagement tool is being rolled out enabling more inclusive engagement which will particularly benefit people in areas of deprivation to get involved in decisions about their places. We currently have 32 available.

To improve the handling of data and citizen participation in the planning system a 'Place-Tech Lab' will be established which will focus on driving digital innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities while supporting communities in realising 20 Minute Neighbourhood. We expect the full spec and proposal for next steps by April 2023.

Contribution to economic development: An economic impact analysis of the programme undertaken by the RTPI estimated up to of £200 million in economic benefits for users of the planning system. This included £20.4 million savings to local authorities on costs of introducing the Planning Act. Large housebuilders are estimated to save between £25k-£30k per site and local housebuilders £1.5k per site. The programme has the potential to create 1,600 jobs in construction and capacity to generate income of £1.6 million per annum over 10 years.

Contact for public enquiries: email:

Programme name: Land reform

Programme description: Capital funding for the Scottish Land Fund (at £8 million per year rising to £11.5 million by 2025-26) and costs for building new Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land (£3 million).

Estimated total investment: £48 million.

How is programme being funded: Capital funded.

Programme delivery timetable: 2021-2026.

Latest programme progress: The Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land (RCI) has been built by Registers of Scotland and became operational on 1 April 2022. There is now a one-year transitional period before criminal offences come into force for non-compliance. In addition, we are committed to doubling the Scottish Land Fund by 2026.

Contribution to economic development: The Scottish Land Fund enables community groups to purchase assets within their own community and to deliver services to that local community. Whether it is bringing an unused asset back into productive use or ensuring that an existing one continues to be used and developed further, communities taking control of local assets helps to build local community wealth and contributes to the wider economic benefit as a result.

The RCI will improve transparency of who makes decisions about land and land use in Scotland, and gives communities information that can help them engage with landowners and managers, and influence how land in their local area is used.

Contact for public enquiries: Scottish Land Fund email: / Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land email:



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