Planning Circular 4/2013: Planning appeals

Guidance on the procedural requirements relating to appeals made to the Scottish Ministers in various planning consent and enforcement cases.

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96. Part 9 of the 2013 Regulations sets out general provisions covering a number of aspects of the procedures in the 2013 Regulations.

Non-delegated appeals

97. Regulation 26 relates to non-delegated appeals, where the decision on an appeal will be taken by Scottish Ministers rather than delegated to an appointed person. It applies the provisions in Parts 1, 3 and 9 of the 2013 Regulations and the Hearing Session and Inquiry Session Rules with the same technical amendments as in relation to called-in applications.

National security

98. Regulation 27 deals with national security. It allows that where an appellant withholds security-sensitive information on the grounds that public disclosure would not be in the national interest, that does not invalidate an appeal. The appeal must be accompanied by a written statement explaining that this is the reason for withholding the information.

99. Where the relevant Secretary of State in the UK Government or, after consultation with that Secretary of State, Scottish Ministers direct that such information should not be subject to public disclosure, the special procedures in schedule 4 on Closed Evidence will apply to the case. The Planning (National Security Directions and Appointed Representatives) (Scotland) Rules 2006 ( SSI 2006/265) [12] apply to the making of directions restricting the availability of evidence, and to the appointed representatives who can view evidence and act on behalf of parties not able to view closed evidence.

Further copies of documents

100. Regulation 28 enables the appointed person to require any party who has submitted documents, materials or evidence under the 2013 Regulations to provide him or her or other parties with such additional copies as he or she specifies. He or she may also require the planning authority to make copies of the documents, materials or evidence available for inspection at an office of the planning authority until the appeal is determined and to allow anyone reasonable opportunity to inspect the documents, and where practicable to take copies of them.

Compliance with notification and consultation procedures

101. Regulation 29 sets out, for the various types of appeal in relation to applications made to the planning authority, requirements on the appointed person to comply with any consultation and publicity requirements in relation to the application where this has not already been done by the planning authority. In cases relating to appeals against enforcement or discontinuance notices, for example, there is no application, so regulation 29 does not apply.

Appointment of assessors

102. Infrequently Scottish Ministers may appoint an assessor to sit with the appointed person at a hearing session or at an inquiry session to advise on such matters as Scottish Ministers may specify - regulation 30. Where this happens Scottish Ministers must notify every person entitled to appear at the inquiry or hearing session of the name of the assessor and of the matters that the assessor is to advise upon.

Decision notice

103. The appointed person is required by regulation 31 to give notice of the decision (the decision notice) to the appellant and to the planning authority, and to notify every person who has made and not withdrawn representations in respect of the appeal that a decision has been made and where a copy of the decision notice is available for inspection.

Electronic communication

104. Regulation 32 enables key transactions under the 2013 Regulations to be carried out electronically and to have the same effect as if they had been provided in paper copy. There are certain conditions to be met in order to facilitate this use of electronic communications:

  • the recipients have agreed or are deemed to have agreed to receive the information electronically;
  • any person sending information electronically is to be taken to have agreed to the use of electronic communication for the purpose of the appeal; and
  • the transmitted document is capable of being accessed by the recipient, that it is legible and sufficiently permanent for subsequent reference.

105. Consent to use electronic communication can be withdrawn by parties by giving notice and this will take effect not later than seven days from that notice.


EmaiL: Scottish Government Planning,

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