Streamlining planning assessments: guiding principles

Guiding principles for streamlining planning assessments.


The Scottish Government is committed to working with stakeholders to ensure that in future the provision of supporting information to accompany all categories of planning applications (national, major and local) is more streamlined. The Scottish Government considers the following guiding principles can help to achieve this aim.


Early engagement on the likely scope and content of supporting information requirements can help prevent subsequent delay, ensure unnecessary work is not carried out and establish if assessments are needed. Applicants should provide relevant information to consultees before pre-application discussions take place to assist productive comments.

Pre-application discussions can then be used by the Planning Authority and the Developer to ensure all parties have a shared understanding of the nature of the proposed development, the information requirements, and the likely timescales for determination.

The Key Agencies will deliver effective and timely pre-application engagement, in accordance with the Key Agencies Joint Statement on pre-application engagement 1.

Where relevant, use will be made of project management tools, such as Planning Processing Agreements, to help to identify what information is required, and from whom, and in the setting of agreed timescales for the various stages of the process.

Relevant strategic/plan-level assessments will be used to inform assessments accompanying planning applications, and to identify opportunities for greater co-ordination between assessments.

Where more than one consenting regime applies, consideration will be given as to how information can be co-ordinated to reduce duplication and improve efficiency.


To prevent unnecessary delays and objections the planning application should not be submitted until all the supporting information necessary to allow the application to be properly considered has been prepared.


Planning assessments will be requested where necessary according to the circumstances of each individual case. The content of each assessment will be

  • necessary to inform the decision;
  • relevant to the development proposal
  • proportionate to the scale and complexity of likely impacts arising

Clarity & accessibility:

Assessment findings will be clearly reported and should be written in a manner which is accessible to a range of end-readers, including the planning authority, key agencies, and which may include members of the public. Where technical information is being conveyed, the use of appendices, maps and other visual aids should be considered. Where mitigation measures are recommended, these will be clearly sign-posted within the assessment report.


  1. See the Key Agencies Joint Statement on pre-application engagement. Please ensure all parties that prepare additional supporting information adhere to this guidance
Streamlining planning assessments - guiding principles.pdf



Telephone: 0131 244 7528

Area 2-H (South)
Planning and Architecture Division
The Scottish Government
Victoria Quay

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