Planning Circular 1/2017: Environmental Impact Assessment regulations

Guidance on The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017.

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Permitted Development

67. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992 ( GPDO) grants a general planning permission (usually referred to as permitted development rights - PDRs) for various specified types of development. Although many permitted development rights concern development of a minor, non-contentious nature such as development within the curtilage of a dwelling house, minor operations, temporary buildings and uses, and small business developments, there are some that could fall within the descriptions in Schedules 1 or 2.

68. The provisions of the GPDO (insofar as they relate to Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 development) are such that:

  • Schedule 1 development is not permitted development. Such developments always require the submission of a planning application and an EIA report;
  • Schedule 2 development does not constitute permitted development unless the planning authority has adopted a screening opinion to the effect that EIA is not required. Where the authority's opinion is that EIA is required, permitted development rights are withdrawn and a planning application must be submitted and accompanied by an EIA report.

These requirements do not apply to certain types of permitted development, described in paragraphs 157- 159.

69. Requests to the planning authority for a screening opinion can be made alongside any "prior notification" or application for prior approval which may be required under the particular PDR, although developers may wish to establish at an earlier stage whether or not EIA and a planning application will be required. (See paragraphs 71- 72 on prior approvals.)

70. Planning authorities should be on the lookout for work being carried out under PDRs to ensure that the developer has, where necessary, obtained a screening opinion that EIA is not required.

Prior Approvals

71. There may be circumstances in which an authority receives an application under the GPDO for a prior approval, or for a determination as to whether prior approval will be required (known as 'prior notification'), which the authority considers relates to Schedule 1 development. Regulation 56 amends the GPDO to require that the authority must adopt a screening opinion. Planning authorities should bear in mind that for schedule 1 development the screening opinion must always be that EIA is required.

72. Where an application for prior approval or prior notification is received, which the authority considers relates to schedule 2 development which may have significant effects on the environment, and those effects have not previously been identified (whether in any earlier opinion or direction, or because no opinion or direction has been issued) the authority must adopt a screening opinion. Any screening opinion adopted in those circumstances will supersede the terms of any earlier opinion or direction.


Email: William Carlin

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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