Scotland's Zero Waste Plan

Scotland's Zero Waste Plan

Annex - B


1.1 The planning system has a crucial role in delivering waste management facilities for all waste to ensure the objectives and targets of the Zero Waste Plan are met. Moving to zero waste means more facilities will be required to collect, sort, reuse, recycle and process waste. This will also provide opportunities to harness renewable sources of energy. This annex provides the link between the Zero Waste Plan objectives, the National Planning Framework [1], Scottish Planning Policy[2], Planning Advice Note 63 (PAN 63) [3] and information on roles and responsibilities.


2.1 The planning system has a role in supporting national implementation of the revised EU Waste Framework Directive (WFD) [Directive 2008/98/EC] [4]. The WFD aims to move Member States towards increased levels of recycling and recovery, seeking to avoid waste generation and to use waste as a resource. Meeting these requirements and recycling targets, and the domestic targets set by Scottish Government will require action by the planning system to identify sufficient land allocations for more sustainable waste management infrastructure for all wastes.

2.2 Planning proactively for waste management is an opportunity to join-up significant environmental, energy and economic benefits. Circular 1/2009: Development Planning [5] expects waste management to be a principal topic of strategic development plans [6] (SDPs) and that they may be site specific especially where there are no realistic alternative sites. For SDPs and local development plans (LDPs), planning authorities are required to have regard to the Zero Waste Plan. Additionally, Scottish Planning Policy (SPP), states that development plans must provide for the development of new waste management infrastructure covering all forms of waste, not just municipal waste, through policy, site allocations and action programmes in order to meet expected future waste infrastructure needs, drawing on data provided by SEPA. LDPs should identify a plentiful supply of employment and industrial land as a network of sites suitable for waste management uses, consistent with SPP, to ensure private sector competition, as not all industrial sites will be developed for waste management uses.

2.3 The waste hierarchy is the bedrock of waste management policy and is reflected in SPP. Planning decision-making should, for all new developments, not just waste facilities, recognise the hierarchy's preference for prevention, reduction, reuse, recycling and energy recovery over waste disposal.


3.1 The revised EU Waste Framework Directive (WFD) [Directive 2008/98/EC] establishes the legislative framework for the handling of waste in the European Union. It sets out requirements in relation to waste management and planning. Article 16 (1) states:

"Member States shall take appropriate measures, in cooperation with other Member States where this is necessary or advisable, to establish an integrated and adequate network of waste disposal installations and of installations for the recovery of mixed municipal waste collected from private households, including where such collection also covers such waste from other producers, taking into account best available techniques."

3.2 The WFD states that Member States must have a National Waste Management Plan or Plans. Article 28(3) (d) states that waste management plans must have:

"…sufficient information on the location criteria for site identification and on the capacity of future disposal or major recovery installations, if necessary". [7]

3.3 In practice, the EC recognises that the WFD can be fulfilled by Scotland's tiered system of planning which includes national waste documents and development plans. The EC also recognises that the review of plans can incur time-lags in the light of changes to higher level plans. In any event LDPs must now be replaced at least every 5 years [8]. The National Waste Management Plan for Scotland Regulations 2007 [9] gives the responsibility for preparing the National Waste Management Plan to the Scottish Ministers. For planning purposes the Zero Waste Plan, will constitute the National Waste Management Plan along with the following:

  • The National Planning Framework.
  • Scottish Planning Policy.
  • Planning Advice Note 63 (including revised versions).
  • SEPA waste data sources: including Waste Data Digests and Waste Infrastructure Maps.
  • SEPA Thermal Treatment of Waste Guidelines 2009.

3.4 and will replace the following:

  • The National Waste Strategy: Scotland 1999 [10].
  • The National Waste Plan and 11 Area Waste Plans 2003.
  • Household Waste Prevention Action Plan (Scotland) 2007.
  • Business Waste Framework for Scotland 2007.

Clarification of Policy

3.5 The Zero Waste Plan now supersedes some references to waste policy in National Planning Framework 2 (NPF2) and Scottish Planning Policy (SPP). To clarify national planning policy on waste management infrastructure it should therefore be noted that the Zero Waste Plan and the associated documents listed in paragraph 3.3 of this Annex constitute Scotland's new National Waste Management Plan for planning purposes.

National Planning Framework 2

3.6 By way of clarification to NPF 2, paragraph 167 covers the key elements of the Government's waste policy. Following the publication of the Zero Waste Plan, these can now be summarised as:

· Increasing the proportion of household waste recycled or composted to 40% by 2010, 50% by 2013, 60% by 2020 and 70% by 2025.

· Increasing the proportion of all waste recycled or composted to 70% by 2025.

· Reducing landfill to a maximum of 5% of Scotland's annual waste arisings by 2025.

· Introducing new controls on the materials that may be treated in energy from waste combustion plants, to ensure that they only treat waste that cannot be recycled. These controls will apply to all waste, and will be implemented through environmental permitting regulations rather than the planning system.

· The current 25% cap on municipal waste that may be treated in energy from waste plants will remain in place on an interim basis until the new controls have been introduced.

· A requirement that energy from waste plants achieve high efficiency in terms of energy recovery.

· The National Waste Strategy: Scotland; National Waste Plan and 11 Area Waste Plans are no longer part of the waste policy framework or National Waste Management Plan, and should not be considered as material considerations or used to inform planning decisions or waste capacity requirements.

3.7 NPF2 paragraph 170 states that the Zero Waste Plan may identify a need for a number of national installations to deal with particular waste streams. That approach is not now being pursued, and is replaced instead by the advice on Need and Proximity in Section 4 of this Annex supported by the annually revised data in Table 1.

Scottish Planning Policy

3.8 All types of waste facilities throughout the waste hierarchy will be required to achieve a zero waste Scotland. SPP paragraph 212 covers the key elements of the Government's waste policy. Following the publication of the Zero Waste Plan, those objectives can now be summarised as noted above in relation to paragraph 167 of NPF2.

3.9 References in SPP paragraph 213 to the proximity principle should be taken in the context of the guidance in Section 4 of this Annex.

3.10 Paragraph 214 refers to the Zero Waste Plan establishing the need for and required capacity of facilities. This information is replaced instead by the advice on Need and Proximity in Section 4 supported by the annually revised data in Table 1. In addition, and as foreshadowed in paragraph 214, references to the relevance of the National Waste Strategy: Scotland; National Waste Plan, Area Waste Plans and the objectives of the Business Waste Framework are now no longer relevant having been superseded by the National Waste Management Plan (paragraph 3.3 of this Annex).

3.11 The reference to area waste plans in SPP paragraph 215 does not diminish the relevance of a collaborative approach between authorities where appropriate, for example in relation to policy set out in SPP paragraph 216.

4. Need and Proximity

4.1 The Scottish Government considers that the requirements set out in Article 16 (1) of the revised Waste Framework Directive will be met when there is enough waste infrastructure to deal with all waste arising annually in Scotland. This is not to suggest that waste will not leave or enter Scotland, rather that there would be no major net change. Considering Scotland's progressive approach to zero waste there may be potential for Scotland to become a centre of expertise for the reprocessing of specific high value resources through development of the environment and clean technologies sector. This approach enables Scotland to derive the full environmental, social and economic benefits of a zero waste society.

4.2 The Scottish Government considers that there will be a need for waste management facilities to meet the requirements detailed in the Zero Waste Plan which are by 2025 to:

§ recycle at least 70% of Scotland's total annual waste arisings;

§ treat unsorted waste materials prior to incineration or landfill; and

§ landfill a maximum of 5% of Scotland's annual waste arisings.

4.3 The land-use planning system will be central to delivering this vision. Consequently, planning authorities should be mindful of the following:

§ in preparing local and strategic development plans, planning authorities should set out a locational or spatial strategy [11] which includes waste management development. For all wastes arising in Scotland, this can be achieved either by allocating specific sites for waste management facilities, and/or indicating clearly and positively that land designated for employment, industrial or storage and distribution uses is appropriate for many waste management installations (subject to site specific considerations).

§ need and proximity for waste management facilities should be considered strategically as the achievement of a sustainable strategy may involve waste crossing planning boundaries within Scotland.

4.4 This policy approach provides a high level framework for local discussions about waste management infrastructure in the context of meeting need and achieving proximity. Local authorities are asked to plan proactively to provide facilities to deal with waste produced within development plan areas. The Scottish Government will not be prescriptive about the precise mix of technologies and facilities required to meet the targets set out in the Zero Waste Plan. Nor will it offer a timetable for phasing infrastructure provision relative to the target years, underlining the importance of development plans.

4.5 Table 1 [12] sets out the national shortfall in the operational capacity of waste management infrastructure required to meet the Zero Waste Plan targets in 2025. To ensure that all authorities collectively plan for waste management facilities to meet the requirements of the Zero Waste Plan the shortfall is allocated to groups of local authorities or development plan areas. However, these allocated capacities should not be treated as a limit. It is also acknowledged that authorities can work in a number of arrangements spatially and operationally to deliver the figures and not just in the groupings presented in the table.

4.6 When considering applications for waste recycling, composting, recovery and landfill facilities, the planning authority will be able to assess the need for that type of facility is needed by referring to Table 1. However, comparison with Table 1 should not be regarded as a barrier to prioritising the growth of the resource management sector. This sector is an important industry for the future and individual local authorities may plan to become centres for resource management. The information provided in Table 1 is not intended to prevent this and, therefore, more infrastructure than is specified in the table may be developed over time in a particular area. Supporting inward investment in this way complements wider proposals for economic regeneration and development of a low carbon economy.

Table 1: Additional Operational Waste Management Infrastructure Capacity Required to meet the Zero Waste Plan Targets (by Development Plan Area)

4.7 SEPA will update Table 1 every year, using the latest Zero Waste Plan annual data sets. As the table is updated it is expected that the capacity needed will reduce for three reasons;

§ Actions taken to increase Scotland's resource efficiency and cut waste will reduce the level of waste arisings.

§ Improvements made to existing collection systems and associated infrastructure will see more materials flow through existing infrastructure.

§ New infrastructure will come on stream to process and treat waste.

4.8 Looking ahead, it is impossible to determine the exact contribution of each of these three elements. It is important that the planning system recognises that the market will be key to infrastructure delivery, and that planning consent does not in itself guarantee construction and commissioning. This is why figures used to determine need are linked to operational infrastructure, not planning consents granted.

4.9 The figures within Table 1 are exclusive of facilities such as Household Waste Recycling Centres and Points; and intermediate waste transfer/bulking stations. This is because such developments should be unconstrained to allow the efficient and effective collection of material resources and transfer of waste/materials between the point at which they arise and the place of treatment. Additionally, the figures within Table 1 are exclusive of specialised facilities such as incineration plants for Category 1 a nimal by-product material.

4.10 The Scottish Government intends to bring forward new legislation (to drive separate collection, restrict materials to Energy from Waste and introduce landfill bans) to influence the way in which the waste management sector operates and ensure that the Zero Waste Plan targets and objectives are met. It remains the responsibility of developers to ensure that they comply with SEPA licence and permit conditions, as appropriate, and it is for developers to manage commercial risks and secure access to material inputs for their plant.

4.11 Even with high recycling targets, there will be wastes from which no further value can be recovered and which will require to be landfilled (up to a maximum of 5% of Scotland's total waste arisings post 2025). The Scottish Government will deem Scotland as having an adequate network of landfill facilities so long as capacity sufficient for 10 years is maintained. It should be noted that the 10 year rolling capacity for landfill will reduce over time in order to achieve the long term Zero Waste Plan target of a maximum of 5% of all Scotland's annual waste arisings being landfilled by 2025. Table 2 [13] details, by development plan area, the landfill capacity sufficient for 10 years. However, this does not consider any remaining capacity within existing landfills which can be found within the Landfill Capacity Reports [14] published by SEPA. Therefore, when planning authorities are determining the need for landfill sites, both Table 2 and the landfill capacity reports published by SEPA should be referred to. Table 2 will be updated annually by SEPA.

Table 2: Ten Year Rolling Landfill Capacity Required (by Development Plan Area)


5.1 The Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 [15] introduced a fundamental and comprehensive reform of the planning system in Scotland, aimed at bringing about a more inclusive and efficient planning system, to support the Scottish Government's central purpose of sustainable economic growth.

5.2 The Scottish Planning Circular Series contains Scottish Government policy on the practical implementation of this legislation and associated procedures. Circular 1/2009: Development Planning and Circular 4/2009: Development Management Procedures [16] outline the main responsibilities for planning authorities, in delivering a genuinely plan-led modernised planning system and efficient processes for development management. Other circulars provide support in a range of other relevant topic areas such as the Hierarchy of Developments (Circular 5/2009) [17], EIA (Circular 8/2007) [18] and SEA (Circular 1/2010) [19].

5.3 Central to the ethos of planning reform is that efficient and effective stakeholder involvement is secured throughout the new planning system. Additionally, as a matter of good practice, planning authorities should seek to identify opportunities that provide the best solutions for delivering enough waste infrastructure to deal with all waste arising annually in Scotland and the objectives of the Zero Waste Plan. As a context for framing local discussion around the need for waste facilities:

· Table 1 sets out the Additional Operational Waste Management Infrastructure Capacity Required to meet the Zero Waste Plan Targets

· Table 2 provides a threshold for 10 years national rolling capacity of landfill which must be maintained.

There are some basic expectations on planning authorities and other stakeholders, which should provide the basis for delivering zero waste through development plans and development management. These are outlined below:-

Role of Planning Authority (Development Plan)

5.4 Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) requires that all development plans must identify appropriate locations for all waste management facilities, allocating where possible specific sites and providing a policy framework which supports the development of these facilities. A strategic development plan (SDP) should reflect that requirement where all authorities work together to develop an integrated and adequate network of waste recovery and disposal installations, for all wastes, across Scotland enabling the 2025 Zero Waste Plan targets to be met. A further role, particularly for the spatial strategy and vision statements of local development plans, is to facilitate and enable the prevention, reuse, recycling and recovery of waste from all types of development. Supplementary guidance may be used to provide further information or detail on policies and proposals in SDPs and LDPs provided that these are specifically identified in the development plan.

5.5 It is crucial to the delivery of the Zero Waste Plan to ensure that sustainable waste management is fully considered in all new development. Development plans should include policies to require all new developments (including commercial, business, industrial and residential) to demonstrate that they can minimise the generation of waste during the construction and operational phases e.g. through the use of Site Waste Management Plans. The design of new developments to facilitate sustainable waste management can maximise recycling and recovery opportunities and enable efficient storage and collection of separate waste streams.

Identifying Potential Waste Management Sites

5.6 Modern waste management infrastructure is designed and regulated to high standards and is similar to other industrial processes. Subject to detailed site specific considerations, waste management facilities can be considered appropriate for sites allocated in development plans for employment and industrial use. Development plans must safeguard all active and consented waste management sites and identify appropriate locations for all waste management facilities, where possible on specific sites or supported by a policy framework to facilitate development.

5.7 Care should be taken to ensure that allocations for adjacent sites do not compromise waste handling operations. Where appropriate, sufficient land should also be identified to enable existing waste handling installations to expand without being constrained by adjoining land uses.

5.8 Every effort should be made to ensure that proposed waste management facilities for all wastes are consistent with the national approach to proximity and need to enable delivery of an integrated and adequate network of installations across Scotland.

5.9 The following locational criteria should be considered by planning authorities and developers when identifying and assessing sites for waste management facilities to ensure that they support waste infrastructure investment and are in the most appropriate locations. More detailed guidance will be provided in PAN 63.

1. Potential Sites

Potential suitable sites for waste management activities include:

  • Industrial and Employment areas
  • Degraded, contaminated or derelict land
  • Working and worked out quarries
  • Sites that have the potential to maximise the potential for the re-use of waste heat through co-location with potential heat users
  • Existing or redundant sites or buildings that can be easily adapted
  • Existing waste management sites, or sites that were previously occupied by waste management facilities
  • Sites accessible to railways, waterways or the trunk and principal road network junctions.

2. Links to Transport Infrastructure

Relevant considerations in the siting of installations will include access to the transport network, including road, rail and waterways. All decisions regarding the location of waste management infrastructure should take into consideration how wastes and end products are transported to and from the site, minimising unnecessary travel.

3. Impact on Environment

As with all other types of development, proposed waste management facilities should be located in sites where potential impacts on the human, built and natural environment can be minimised. There may be a requirement under the Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1999 for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be prepared to assist in the consideration of any potential likely significant environmental impacts.

4. Heat and Power Use

Any sites identified specifically for energy from waste facilities should allow links to be made to potential users of renewable heat and energy. Such schemes are particularly suitable in locations where there are premises nearby with a long-term demand for heat.

A heat plan should be provided by the applicant when planning permission is sought for energy from waste facilities. Sufficient space should be provided within the application site for any equipment required to export heat from the site, including space for future pipe work taking heat off-site. When new development is planned in the vicinity of an existing or consented energy from waste facility, developers and planning authorities should consider how best to ensure these new developments are designed and conditioned to use the heat, for example in district heating schemes. This is a requirement of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 [20] (Chapter 3).

5. Construction and Demolition Waste

Development plans should identify suitable sites for the processing of all waste types, including construction and demolition wastes. Suitable sites for construction and demolition waste could include existing minerals workings or industrial sites. Opportunities may exist to recycle construction and demolition waste either close to where it arises with mobile crushing plant on site or at a temporary or permanent processing site.

Role of Planning Authority (Development Management)

5.10 The planning system has an important role in supporting the achievements of the Zero Waste Plan through its influence on the location, layout and design of all new developments, not just waste management facilities and the provision of the required waste management installations.

5.11 Applications must be assessed against the national need for facilities as detailed in Section 4. In this way, consideration will be given to the role the proposal would play in delivering the required national capacity and its contribution towards the delivery of the Zero Waste Plan.

Role of Local Authority (Waste Managers)

5.12 Local authority waste managers should be involved in the preparation of development plans and be consulted on relevant planning applications. Waste managers should advise on the existing provision in an area; the Authority's own waste strategy; and how developers can make provision for collection, segregation and storage of waste within new developments prior to treatment.

Role of Developers

5.13 Against the provisions of the development plan for the area, developers should refer to information contained within section 3.3 to help them identify the most appropriate locations for proposed waste management facilities, and how building design and layout of all new developments must take account of waste management. Applications should be supported by the information statutory consultees and decision takers require. Developers should clearly show the role the proposal will play in delivering the national need for facilities as detailed in Tables 1 and 2 of Section 4.

5.14 Developers should submit a Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP) as part of planning applications for all development types, not limited to but including waste management facilities. SMWPs provide construction businesses, their clients and designers with cost saving opportunities and a structured approach to waste management on site. More detailed guidance is provided in PAN 63.

5.15 Developers also have a responsibility to consult on their proposals in order to comply with statutory pre-application consultation requirements or informal engagement as outlined in PAN 81 [21].

Role of members of the public and community groups

5.16 Members of the public and community groups have an important role in the planning system and are encouraged to get involved in the development planning process and planning applications. When responding to plans and applications it is important that they ensure that responses are focused on planning issues as in this way they may be considered material. Responses should take into consideration the national waste management needs. SEPA have provided fact sheets on some of the key waste management and treatment processes required to meet Zero Waste objectives which may help in understanding plans and proposals.

Role of Planning Committees

5.17 Local authority councillors have an important role in planning. It is therefore vital that elected members involved in taking decisions on development plans and on planning applications under the new planning system, understand the role the planning system plays in relation to national waste management needs. The Improvement Service [22] has programmes dedicated to elected member development.

Role of Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

5.18 SEPA is a key agency and will engage with planning authorities on waste management early on in development plan preparation, and as a consultee on waste management planning applications. SEPA's role is to enable waste to be minimised and will provide an overview of all related waste issues from potential licensing issues and the mitigation of environmental impacts arising from waste management facilities.

5.19 In summary SEPA will provide:

1. Waste Data and Infrastructure Maps

SEPA collects and interprets waste management data for Scotland and publishes information which can be used by planning authorities and developers when planning for waste. This information includes Waste Infrastructure Maps [23] and the information in Tables 1 & 2 which will be updated annually.

2. Assistance in preparation of Development plans

SEPA provides an independent assessment of development plans in a national and local context. SEPA has a duty to co-operate in the preparation of development plans, and hence the early engagement of SEPA is essential to enable waste management to be integral to the plan. Through this process of engagement, SEPA will ensure the development plan contributes towards the delivery of the required national waste management infrastructure and the objectives of the Zero Waste Plan by drawing attention to key issues, and recommending amendments where required. Where insufficient sites for waste management have been identified, or where the principles of sustainable waste management set out in the Zero Waste Plan are not clearly identified, SEPA will object to the development plan and assist the planning authority in resolving any issues.

3. Responses to Development Management Consultations

SEPA will engage proactively at pre-application stage with regard to waste management development proposals until development plans have been updated to reflect the Zero Waste Plan objectives. In the longer term SEPA's role in commenting on waste management planning applications, consistent with applications for all types of development proposals, will be proportionate to the information provided to support applications and to development plans which adequately implement the Zero Waste Plan objectives. However, SEPA will still comment as required by planning authorities on planning applications for major and national waste management proposals in order to continue their role in fulfilling Scotland's Zero Waste objectives . Further details on SEPA's role in planning for waste, is available on SEPA's website. SEPA will advise on matters they can control by licence or permit condition and subsequent monitoring and enforcement in order to provide clarity to planning authorities and developers and avoid duplication of controls. SEPA will assist the process by commenting on information including:

  • Treatment techniques.
  • Processes and pollution controls.
  • Emissions from the site to air, water or land.

SEPA will comment on layout and design of non-waste applications to minimise the generation of waste, and ensure that the necessary infrastructure for waste management is built into new developments.

4. Public Education and Awareness

All stakeholders have a role to play in raising awareness and changing behaviour and attitudes relating to sustainable waste management. SEPA will continue to act in an advisory role regarding waste infrastructure, and take part in education and capacity-building at each planning authority, and with the waste industry, to improve early public engagement with waste planning activities including development plans and development management applications.

5. Permits and Waste Management Plants

When dealing with waste management licensing and permitting applications, SEPA will consult with the Food Standards Agency, the local authority, the Health Board and any other person that the Scottish Ministers may direct to ensure that any health issues are properly considered and dealt with. Once the facility is operational, SEPA will monitor and enforce standards as necessary.







[7] "Disposal" includes landfill sites and some incineration facilities. Annex II to the Waste Framework Directive gives a non-exhaustive list of recovery operations. This "includes incineration facilities dedicated to the processing of municipal solid waste only where their energy efficiency is equal to or above: 0, 60 for installations in operation and permitted in accordance with applicable Community legislation before 1 January 2009.
0, 65 for installations permitted after 31 December 2008."



[10] The National Waste Strategy: Scotland 1999 will be replaced from the 27 March 2011 when the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2011 become effective.

[11] Circular 2/2009 paragraphs 14, 38.

[12] The Government has set a target of no more than 5% of all waste to go to landfill by 2025. This means that, in the future, some of the waste which is currently landfilled will be managed higher up the waste hierarchy. SEPA made an assessment of the type and amount of additional capacity required to manage this waste either by recycling, composting or other recovery. Capacity data will be updated annually and published on the SEPA website at:

[13] A simple approach was taken for 2008 based on Zero Waste Plan data whereby the total amount of Scottish waste landfilled in 2008 was multiplied by ten. However, the methodology for estimating future landfill capacity will be refined once the timescales for source segregation of waste and landfill bans are known and can be incorporated into a more robust model. Capacity data will be updated annually and published on the SEPA website at:











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