Planning Reform - next steps

Actions to further simplify and streamline the planning system.


The planning system must be responsive to and supportive of proposals that support sustainable economic growth. In the current economic climate local authorities, government agencies, the development industry and other stakeholders are all reviewing their activities so that they add value and support economic recovery.

Planning authorities must recognise the importance of providing certainty and greater predictability of outcomes for both investors and communities. Demands for information and analysis to enable robust decisions to be reached must be proportionate and there must be a clear understanding of the implications of restrictions and obligations for the viability of a project. Where planning authorities are of the view that refusal of planning permission is a strong possibility, developers should be advised at the earliest possible stage during the pre-application discussions and they can make a judgement on whether to pursue an application.

The Scottish Government is determined to ensure that the planning system is not presented as an obstacle to sustainable economic growth. We wish to promote a problem solving approach to planning based on pace, pragmatism and proportionality. This applies equally to agencies, and the development industry must also play its role. We must make partnership a reality across Scotland.

The Scottish Government would welcome views on how economic considerations might be given more explicit recognition in the development of planning policy and decision making.

The priorities for the next stage of planning modernisation are:-

  • promoting the plan-led system
  • driving improved performance
  • simplifying and streamlining
  • delivering development.


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