Permitted Development Rights review - phase 3: consultation

We are currently conducting a substantial review of permitted development rights (PDR). Phase 3 focusses on renewable energy equipment, replacement windows, electricity network infrastructure, reverse vending machines and temporary use of land for shooting ranges.

6. Other Phase 3 Proposals

6.1 Reverse Vending Machines

Current PDR for reverse vending machines

6.1.1 Under the provisions of the Deposit and Return Scheme ("DRS") for Scotland Regulations 2020, certain items of glass, metal and plastic packaging will be subject to a deposit payable at point of sale and refundable when the packaging is returned to any participating return point. These provisions are proposed to come into force on 1 March 2024.

6.1.2 Reverse vending machines ("RVMs") will play an important role in the operation of the deposit return scheme. RVMs are machines which: accept packaging which falls within the deposit return scheme; reimburse deposits for each accepted; and retain the packaging for collection.

6.1.3 The Town and Country planning (General Permitted Development) (Reverse Vending Machine) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2020 introduced PDR for the installation, alteration or replacement of RVMs in the wall of, or within the curtilage of, a shop (class 9H). There are a number of restrictions on the location and size of an RVMs installed under class 9H PDR. The PDR do not apply if:

  • The RVM would exceed 3.5 metres in height.
  • Its footprint would exceed 80 square metres.
  • In the case of an RVM installed in the wall of a shop, any part of the machine would protrude 2 metres beyond the outer surface of that wall.
  • It would be situated within 15 metres of the curtilage of a building used for residential purposes.
  • It would face onto and be within 5 metres of a road.

6.1.4 Additionally, development is not permitted under class 9H within sites of archaeological interest, National Scenic Areas, historic gardens or designed landscapes, historic battlefields, conservation areas, National Parks, or World Heritage Sites. RVMs no longer in operation must be removed and the site reinstated to its prior condition as soon as reasonably practicable.

Context for change: reverse vending machines

6.1.5 The current PDR allow the installation of units on shop frontages (similar to cash machines) and for larger, free-standing units in retail curtilages including carparks. However, we are aware such options may not be appropriate for smaller retailers which have limited internal floorspace or are not served by dedicated off-street parking. RVMs located on or adjacent to the street, potentially serving as a collection point for multiple outlets, may be a more efficient and effective solution for smaller retailers. However, this type of approach would not be covered by current PDR and a planning application would be required. We are therefore considering the introduction of a PDR providing for the installation of free-standing on-street RVMs.

6.1.6 The DRS is intended to operate as a "return to retail" model, in which items can be taken back to any location that sells materials that are within the scope of the scheme. The introduction of a PDR enabling the installation of on-street RVMs would enable smaller stores with space restrictions to provide an alternative return point – whether on a high street or in more rural setting – where return to retail is not as widely available. In doing so, on-street RVMs may provide more decentralised return points in a wider range of locations, which could help to increase the overall accessibility of the DRS and reduce the need to travel by car.

6.1.7 We recognise that structures placed within the public realm can create obstructions that can affect certain groups disproportionately – such as those with visual impairments. In this context, it is important to note that under section 59 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984, the consent of the roads authority is required before anything (including a structure such as an RVM) is placed on a road if it would cause an obstruction. The definition of road includes the pavement.

6.1.8 Consent under section 59 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 must be obtained in addition to any requirement for planning permission – these are separate regimes. The need to obtain consent under the 1984 Act would continue to apply even if planning permission were granted through a new PDR for on-street RVMs. This ongoing requirement would ensure that safety and accessibility issues could continue to be considered and addressed in the absence of a planning application. Even so, given the potential for RVMs to contribute to street clutter, it is envisaged that any new PDR for free-standing, on-street RVMs would be subject to conditions specifying: a minimum separation distance between RVMs located on the road, and size limits for such RVMs. We anticipate these size limits would be more restrictive than those which apply to class 9H PDR for off-street RVMs. We also envisage including a condition preventing the installation of an RVM under PDR if it would result in a pavement being narrower than a specified minimum width.

Proposals: reverse vending machines

6.1.9 We would welcome views on the introduction of PDR that would permit the installation of RVMs located on the road (the definition of which includes the pavement). It is proposed that such PDR would be subject to conditions and limitations specifying that:

  • Any RVM installed under the PDR must:
    • Be at least 400m from any other on-street RVM.
    • Not exceed 2.5m width or depth, or exceed 2m in height (including any canopy or housing).
    • Not result in a clear pavement width of less than 1.5m
    • Be oriented to ensure returns can be readily accepted from those using a footpath/pavement.
  • The PDR does not apply unless consent under section 59 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 has first been obtained.
  • No advertising other than that related to the DRS (or to recycling in general) is permitted.

6.1.10 We also propose to remove the current restriction that a reverse vending machine cannot be installed facing onto and within 5m of a road as this may restrict the installation of wall mounted RVMs within shop frontages.

Question 29: Do you agree with the proposed amendments to PDR for reverse vending machines?

Please add any comment in support of your answer

6.2 Temporary Use of Land: Shooting Ranges

Current PDR for temporary use of land

6.2.1 Class 15 of the GPDO allows a temporary activity – or different use – to take place on land for up to 28 days, within a calendar year, without needing to apply for planning permission. The terms of class 15 are flexible: they apply to any activity, except use of land for a caravan site, and they do not apply to land within the curtilage of a building. Moveable structures associated with the temporary use can be placed on the land during the 28-day period but must be removed from the land at other times. The 28 days is a cumulative total in any calendar year.

Context for change: temporary use of land

6.2.2 It has been brought to our attention that these provisions might be used to establish temporary firing ranges comprising the provision of fixed targets associated with the use of firearms. Concerns have been expressed about the potential disruption and amenity impacts that such uses can have, particularly in respect of noise. It should be noted that, whether or not a planning application is required, the use of firearms is subject to separate licensing and checks by Police Scotland to ensure public safety. For ranges this will include a requirement of a safety certificate issued by the National Rifle Association or a similar body, as well as having adequate insurance being in place.

6.2.3 In light of the potential amenity impacts associated with such uses or activities, we would welcome views on whether there is merit in excluding them from the scope of class 15 PDR. In considering such an amendment, our intention would not be to remove PDR for temporary activities that do not involve fixed targets, such as game shooting, clay pigeon shooting or paintball. In many instances, such activities carried out on a temporary basis may not constitute 'development' under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997. In those cases, planning permission is not required – whether granted via PDR or following a planning application.

6.2.4 A further consideration is that certain types of shooting activities, which may involve target shooting, are exempt from authorisation under firearms legislation. Namely, activities which fall under:

  • The following provisions of the Firearms Act 1968:
    • Section 11(4) (miniature rifle ranges);
    • Section 11(6) (approved shotgun events);
    • The activities of servants of the Crown, including cadet corps, operating in their official capacity under Section 54.
  • The following provisions of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015:
    • Section 17 (approved air weapon events);
    • Section 23 (recreational shooting facilities);
    • Paragraph 6 of Schedule 1 (cadet corps);
    • Paragraph 17 of Schedule 1 (public servants carrying out official duties).

6.2.5 If class 15 is amended so that it does not apply to temporary target shooting ranges, the activities listed above would (where they involve development) require a planning application. However, they would continue to be exempt from authorisation under firearms legislation. Although planning and firearms legislation deal with separate matters, we would nevertheless be interested to hear respondents' thoughts on: a) whether it would be proportionate to withdraw PDR for those temporary shooting activities which are exempt from firearms authorisation; and b) whether there is sufficient planning justification for doing so (e.g., amenity impacts associated with noise).

6.2.6 It should be noted that any amendment to class 15 PDR would have no effect on established shooting or gun clubs with an existing planning permission. Nor would such a change affect organisations intending to use land for a particular purpose for more than 28 days a year, which would be beyond the scope of class 15 in any case. If an amendment is taken forward, those temporary uses no longer permitted under class 15 would need to be the subject of a planning application before they could be carried out (see paragraph 1.3.6).

Proposals: temporary use of land

6.2.7 We would welcome views on potentially amending class 15 of the GPDO to exclude the use of land as a temporary shooting range comprising fixed targets associated with firearms.

Question 30: Do you have any comments on the potential exclusion of the use of land as a target shooting range from class 15 PDR? If such a change were taken forward, do you have views on the potential justification for exempting the activities discussed in paragraphs 6.2.4 and 6.2.5?

Please add any comment in support of your answer



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