Planning Circular 3/2013: Development management procedures (withdrawn)

Guidance on the requirements in relation to applications for planning permission. This has been replaced by a new Circular – Circular 3/2022 – on Development Management Procedures, published on 21 October 2022.

Annex B: Pre-Application Consultation - Screening Process

(Section 35A and regulation 5)

1. This optional process is started by a prospective applicant submitting a notice to the planning authority (a 'pre-application screening notice') requiring the authority to make a statement as to whether the proposal would be of a class that requires statutory PAC. Under section 35A(5) and regulation 5, the 'pre-application screening notice' must contain:

a) a description in general terms of the development to be carried out;

b) the postal address, if any, of the site at which the development is to be carried;

c) a plan showing the outline of the site at which the development is to be carried out and sufficient to identify the site;

d) detail as to how the prospective applicant may be contacted and corresponded with;

e) a statement as to whether a screening opinion or screening direction has previously been issued on the need for EIA in respect of the development.

2. In preparing the notice, a prospective applicant should include enough detail within the general description of the proposal to enable the planning authority to determine the class of development within the hierarchy. Any plan showing the site should be to a proper cartographic base, for example Ordnance Survey, and use an appropriate scale.

3. Part (e) above has been inserted by regulation 5 to facilitate the identification of proposals previously screened as Schedule 1 development in the EIA Regulations, which are categorised as major developments in the hierarchy.

4. Although this information should be sufficient to make a decision, the planning authority has powers under section 35A(6) to request further information where necessary to determine whether the proposal is in a class categorised as requiring PAC. The authority has 21 days to respond to a screening notice which does not include any time between requesting additional information and its receipt (sections 35A(7) and (8)). Any request by the planning authority for further information would need to be made before the 21 day period elapsed.

5. If the proposal is not considered to be in a category for which PAC is required, and the proposal does not then alter significantly prior to submission of a planning application within 12 months, the planning authority cannot subsequently alter its initial view.

6. The screening processes for EIA and for PAC are separate statutory procedures. Therefore a screening opinion under the EIA Regulations would not in itself function as a view on the need for PAC.

7. It is open to the prospective applicant to proceed with PAC without a screening notice. In most instances it should be clear whether PAC is required from the definition of major and national developments. Where a pre-application screening notice and a proposal of application notice are submitted together, they can be processed concurrently rather than consecutively.


Email: Scottish Government Planning,

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