Investing in planning - resourcing Scotland's planning system consultation: impact assessments

This consultation on resourcing Scotland’s planning system responds to current resourcing challenges. It builds on ideas generated in a stakeholder workshop held in November 2023, and sets out a series of proposals which aim to improve capacity and build resilience.

Equality Impact Assessment

Equality Impact Assessment - No EQIA Required Declaration

Only complete this section if, after carrying out and considering your screening exercise, you have concluded and can demonstrate that no EQIA is required, and that people are not impacted by your policy directly or indirectly.

Please refer to the EQIA guidance before making a decision not to conduct an EQIA. If, after reading the guidance you are satisfied that an EQIA is not required, please confirm the following:

  • Will individuals have access to, or be denied access to, a service or function as a result of your policy or the changes you propose to make? Yes No
  • Will the implementation of your policy, directly or indirectly, result in: individuals being employed; a change in staffing levels, terms and conditions, employer or location? Yes No
  • Is there a change in the size of budget, or an impact on resources, and will this change (potentially) impact on individuals? For example, will a service be withdrawn, changed or expanded? Yes No
  • Will your policy impact on another policy that affects people? Yes No

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, your policy does affect people and you should undertake an EQIA.

If you have answered no to all these questions, considered the EQIA guidance and are completely satisfied you do not need to complete an EQIA, please complete and retain the EQIA not required form on the following page.

The form should be completed by the official responsible for the decision, and then authorised by the relevant Deputy Director, or equivalent. The completed declaration must be filed as a corporate record on eRDM.

Equality Impact Assessment – Assessment Not Required Declaration

Policy title: Investing in Planning

Policy lead responsible for taking the decision: Chris Sinclair

Communities: Local Government, Housing and Planning: Planning, Architecture and Regeneration Division

Which National Outcome(s) does the policy contribute to?

The planning system in Scotland contributes to all of our National Outcomes. Ensuring we have a well-resourced and skilled planning system is critical to delivering on our ambitions and achieving the outcomes set out in the National Performance Framework. Planning fees can have a demonstrable impact on the service provided by an authority and in particular contribute to the following indicators under the Human Rights and International outcomes:

Human Rights

  • Public services which treat people with dignity and respect
  • Influence over local decisions
  • Quality of public services


  • Trust in public organisations
  • Scotland’s reputation


  • Economic Growth


  • Energy from Renewable Sources


  • Perception of Local Area

Please record why you are not carrying out an EQIA and what your justification is for making that decision.

As with previous consultations on planning fees, we are currently of the view that an assessment is not required. Whilst our aim is to improve resourcing, this will provide a better planning service, rather than a new service with direct effects on individuals. We will, however, revisit this conclusion to consider if a full EQIA is required for any individual proposals following the consultation.

The Investing in Planning Consultation includes a wide range of ongoing and new proposals.

The new proposals include:

  • A central planning hub to support authorities
  • Short term working group to look at proportionality of assessments
  • Taking stock of the use of processing agreements
  • Improved cross council working to better align consents
  • Developing templates for Section 75 agreements
  • Devolving power to authorities to locally set planning fees
  • Introducing an annual inflationary increase in planning fees
  • Increasing discretionary charging including processing agreements, sites not allocated in the development plan and masterplan consent areas
  • Introducing fees for appeals
  • Service charge for submitting applications online
  • Considering the potential to alter the threshold for applications under the Electricity Act
  • Introducing a fee category for hydrogen projects
  • Increased fees for prior notification and approval categories.
  • Consistent approach to fees for shellfish farming.

The proposals cover a broad range of areas which primarily focus on the Development Management function undertaken by planning authorities. It would be difficult and disproportionate to impact assess such a broad range of issues which cover ways of working and the fees and charges which an authority can collect. We also consider it useful to revisit this decision when we have more details on which proposals will be taken forward and how they will be phased. The main objective of the consultation is to seek stakeholders’ views on proposals which are aimed at improving the people, skills and financial resources available to planning authorities.

The previous consultation on Planning Fees in 2019 indicated our view that a full EQIA was not required where it related to planning fees. Of the respondents who answered the consultation question 84% supported this conclusion.

It should be noted that in relation to fees/charges, exemptions are in place where the proposed development is intended to improve access safety, health or comfort for a disabled person who is living in a house. Applications for operations in connection with a building to which the public have access are also exempt from payment of a fee if the planning authority is satisfied that the proposed development is intended solely to provide means of access to or within the building for disabled persons. The exemption is not confined to those buildings where there is a statutory obligation to provide such access.

For the reasons set out above we consider that a full EQIA is not required.

I confirm that the decision to not carry out an EQIA has been authorised by:

Name and job title of Deputy Director: Dr Fiona Simpson, Chief Planner and Director of Planning, Architecture and Regeneration Division

Date authorisation given: 8 February 2024



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