Categories of Planning Applications
For planning applications, developments are put into one of five categories: local, major, other, Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and national. This publication covers the first four as national developments are dealt with by Scottish Ministers.
Local developments include applications for changes to individual houses, smaller developments of less than 50 homes, less than 2 hectares and less than 20 megawatts. Major developments include applications for 50 or more homes, greater than 2 hectares or more than 20 megawatts.
The full range of applications can include changes to properties, new builds, minerals, business & industry, waste management, electricity generation, freshwater fish farming, marine finfish farming, marine shellfish farming, telecommunications, Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions, Prior Notifications and other developments. The classification of all development types can be found in the planning series circular Go to Hierarchy of Developments web page.
Stopping the Clock
In some cases it is appropriate to remove a length of time from the total decision time. “Stopping the clock” is used where there has been a lengthy delay caused by the applicant or external consultees. This is not under the planning authority’s control and the authority cannot progress with an application.
On 3rd August 2009 changes were made to the statutory development management system and handling of planning applications. A few legacy cases from before then remain. They can have a large effect on average decision times so they are not included in the main analysis. They are reported separately in tables in the supporting spreadsheet file. In 2022/23 just one legacy case was decided.
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