Publication - Statistics

Planning Performance Statistics 2020/21: Annual

Published: 20 Jul 2021

Summary statistics on planning application decision-making timescales for 2020/21 with historic data going back to 2012/13. It is based on data collected by the Scottish Government from Local and Planning Authorities as part of the Planning Performance Framework (introduced in 2012).

Planning Performance Statistics 2020/21: Annual
Key Findings

Key Findings

This report presents annual statistics on planning decision-making and timescales for 2012/13 to 2020/21. It is based on quarterly data collected by the Scottish Government from Local and Planning Authorities as part of the Planning Performance Framework (introduced in 2012).

In 2020/21 the number of applications detemined and average decision times were impacted on by restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further information about the impacts is available in Section 1.2.

  • 24,448 local planning applications
  • 272 major planning applications decided by Planning Authorities 2020/21
  • 94.5% of planning applications approved

In 2020/21 Planning Authorities decided 24,448 local planning applications and 272 major planning applications. This includes applications with processing agreements where the developer and local authority agree on timescales for decisions.

Classification between local and major depends on the development type. Further information about categories is available in Section 1.6.

Most applications were approved.

Annual Trends for Local and Major Developments

The number of applications determined and the decision times were impacted on by restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further information about the impacts is available in Section 1.2.

Increase in average decision time for local and major developments.

The average decision time for local developments was 10.0 weeks in 2020/21, slower by almost a week compared to last year.
Chart showing annual trends since 2016/17 in number of applications determined and average decision times for local developments
In 2020/21 the average decision time for major development applications was 41.3 weeks, almost 8 weeks slower than the 32.6 weeks for the previous year.
Chart showing annual trends  since 2016/17 in number of applications determined and average decision times for major developments

Applications with processing agreements are not included in decision time calculations. The use of processing agreements for local applications has increased from 4.2% of local applications in 2016/17 to 10.4% in 2020/21. The use of processing agreements for major applications has increased from 27.9% of all major applications in 2016/17 to 37.1% in 2020/21.

A number of local authorities reported an increased use of processing agreements in response to managing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and delays.

Number of planning applications continues to fall.

  • The number of local and major planning applications with decisions has decreased each year since 2013/14.
  • There were 2,137 fewer local development applications than in 2019/20.
  • There were 35 fewer major development applications than in 2019/20.

Planning Applications by Development Type

In 2020/21, householders making changes to their properties accounted for 42% of planning applications (13,106 of 31,014).
Chart showing the proportion of the total number of determined applications by each development type

Local and major housing developments was the third largest group with 4,937 applications (4,293, 14% of all applications).

Local development average decision times were quickest for householder applications.
Chart showing average decision times for local applications by development type

In 2020/21 the average decision time for householders making changes to their properties was 8.1 weeks. The longest average decision times were for applications for mineral developments, 22.0 weeks.

Major development average decision times were quickest for business and industry applications.
Chart showing average decision times for major applications by development type

The quickest average decision time, business and industry applications, was 22.3 weeks. The longest average decision time was for applications for housing developments, 54.8 weeks.

Planning Applications for Housing Developments

Almost half of local housing applications were processed by five local authorities.
Chart showing the proportion of total local housing applications determined by the six local authorities that processed the most.

In 2020/21 just under half (47.6%) of decisions on local housing applications were made by five local authorities. Highland made the most, 773 (19% of the Scotland Total). This was followed by Aberdeenshire (477), Argyll and Bute (264), Perth and Kinross (259), and Moray (212).

Almost 40% of all major housing applications were processed by five local authorities.
Chart showing the proportion of total major housing applications determined by the five local authorities that processed the most.

In 2020/21 five local authorities made 38.8% of decisions on major housing applications.Glasgow City made the most (13), 11% of the Scotland Total. This was followed by North Lanarkshire (11), Fife (9), Aberdeen City (7) and South Lanarkshire (7).


Contact

Email: planning_stats@gov.scot