Planning performance statistics: second quarter, 2016-2017

This report presents the latest summary statistics on planning decision-making and timescales for July to September 2016 (Quarter 2).

1. Introduction

1.1 Background to data collection

Planning authority performance data is a statistical collection undertaken to establish the number of planning applications determined by Scottish planning authorities, and their performance in processing them. The Scottish Government Communities Analysis Division collects quarterly data from all 32 Local Authorities and the two Planning Authorities (Cairngorms National Park and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park) on the detail of planning decisions and timescales.

1.2 Legacy cases

On 3rd August 2009 substantial changes to the statutory development management system, relating to the handling of planning applications, came into effect across the whole of Scotland. A few legacy cases that were validated pre 3rd August 2009 can badly skew results and therefore, where possible, analysis is provided separately for the current planning system post 3rd August 2009 as well as for all applications where decisions have been made.

1.3 Detailed tables of results

Additional detailed excel tables of results as well as a copy of this summary are available on the Planning Statistics page of the Scottish Government's website at:

Quarter 2 results for 2016/17 as well as previous quarter's results are available at: Planning Authority Performance Statistics 2016/17 Quarter 2 (These tables are referred to throughout this bulletin as "Quarter 2, 2016/17")

Annual results for 2015/16 as well as previous year's results are available at: Planning Authority Performance Statistics 2015/16 Annual

1.4 Categories of planning applications

For the purpose of planning applications, developments are put into one of three categories: local, major or national. The different types allow councils to treat developments in a way which is suited to their size, complexity and the issues they are likely to raise.

Local developments include changes to individual houses and, for example, smaller developments for new housing and retail. Most applications for planning permission will be for local developments.

Major developments include developments of 50 or more homes, certain waste, water, transport and energy-related developments, and larger retail developments. Classification between local and major developments depends on the particular development type. For example, housing developments are classed as major when the application is for 50 or more dwellings or for a site that exceeds two hectares, whereas electricity generation is classed as major when the capacity of the generating station is or exceeds 20 megawatts.

Details for the classification of all development types can be found here:

National developments are mainly large public works (for example, the regeneration of the former Ravenscraig steelworks) and are identified in the National Planning Framework (

National Developments are not included in the planning performance statistics analysed in this publication.

1.5 Calculation of decision times

The average decision time in weeks is calculated in days from the date of validation [1] to the date the decision is issued. The average weeks are then calculated by dividing the number of days by 7.

For further explanation of planning performance methodology please refer to Planning Performance Technical Notes.

1.6 Stopping the Clock

In quarter two of 2016/17 several Local Authorities provided information on particular delays that were outwith their control and on which it was agreed it was appropriate to stop the clock for periods of time. In this quarter there were 284 applications where the clock was stopped by 29 local authorities, this compares to 289 applications by 30 local authorities in the previous quarter. Other local authorities either indicated that they were not able to provide details of dates for delays that were outwith their control or did not require any decision time to be removed. Average decision times for these local authorities may be higher than otherwise, and higher than those authorities who are able to report delays in decision making. Further details can be seen in Section 9.

1.7 Revisions

The revisions policy for planning performance statistics has been developed in accordance with the UK Statistics Authority Code of practice for Official Statistics and further details are available at:


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