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.

Strategic Environmental Assessment

Responsible Authority: Scottish Government

Title of the plan: Investing in Planning – A Consultation on Resourcing Scotland’s Planning System

What prompted the plan: (e.g. a legislative, regulatory or administrative provision)

Work to improve resourcing in planning has been underway for some time. However, the planning system is now operating within a very different and challenging set of circumstances. Planning services have experienced reductions in budgets leading to reductions in staff. In addition:

  • There are growing demographic challenges for the planning workforce.
  • The wider jobs market for planning professionals is also challenging, with similar shortages in other parts of the UK and Ireland.
  • Compounding these challenges, the development sector, business and industry are facing significant challenges arising from the economic context.
  • The pace of change is also a significant factor, particularly as a result of net zero commitments.

Plan subject:

Town & country planning.

Brief summary of the plan: (including the area or location to which the plan related)

The Scottish Government is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that the planning system is better equipped to deal with current and future challenges. We must build capacity and skills to enable good quality development that improve places, benefit our quality of life, and help us grow a wellbeing economy and transition to net zero.

This consultation sets out a range of options which have the potential to improve the capacity of the Scottish planning system, in particular in planning authorities, in the coming years.

It responds to current and future challenges, with a view to identifying actions that could improve the capacity of the planning system by helping build resilience and by strengthening cross sector collaboration.

The consultation paper includes a range of proposals which are currently underway and new proposals which could be taken forward in order to improve the financial resources available to authorities.

Brief summary of the likely environmental consequences: (including whether it has been determined that the plan is likely to have no or minimum effects, either directly or indirectly)

The main objective of the consultation is to improve the resourcing, capacity and skills of planning authorities and to improve the financial position of planning authorities in the longer term. Therefore we consider these to be procedural changes with no environmental effect.

Brief summary of how environmental principles have been considered: (including whether any of the guiding principles, as set out in section 13 of the Continuity Act, are relevant to the plan)

As the consultation proposals are not expected to have any environmental effects, it is our view that the environmental principles are not relevant.

Contact details:

Chris Sinclair
Planning, Architecture and Regeneration Division
Local Government and Housing Directorate.

Date of opinion: 08 February 2024



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