Streamlining planning assessments: summary template

Summary template providing guidance on how to streamline planning assessments.

If supporting information is required to be submitted with your planning application, the assessment should meet the requirements of the template detailed below. However it is recommended that pre-application discussions are carried out in order to establish the scope of the information required:

Title page:

Including a reference to the relevant planning application number, any previous applications made, any pre-application reference numbers and dates of discussions, the name and profession of the author, and date of report.

Contents page:

With the exception of very short reports a fully complete contents page should be included and page numbers referenced accurately.

Executive summary:

With the exception of very short reports, it will be helpful to include at the start of the report a short summary outlining:

  • The purpose of the report and its main findings.
  • Whether any recommendations are made relating to the consent (including any recommended mitigation measures), and a reference as to where in the document those recommendations can be found.
  • Where multiple reports are prepared by the same applicant/agent, an overarching summary should be included to draw together all the findings and recommendations . The executive summary should be succinct and in many cases one or two short paragraphs will suffice.

Main report:

The nature of planning assessments & appraisals varies widely and it follows that the content of reports will also vary significantly. Whilst it is not possible to prescribe any single approach to reporting, nonetheless the following principles will be widely applicable:

  • The introduction should include a description of the development and its location.
  • The use of maps / graphs, tables and other visual aids should be used where appropriate to aid clarity and, appropriate use made of annexes.
  • Language should be accessible to the planning authority as the decision-maker; to the Consultation Bodies, and also to the public. The report should very clearly focus on those aspects of the findings which are relevant to the decision.
  • A summary, where relevant, of the methodology or approach taken to the assessment.
  • Regulatory and policy context is not required where a separate policy statement has been provided, and this should be referenced.
  • Cross-references, where relevant to other supporting material provided.
  • In the instances where more than one report is submitted by the same applicant/agent, confirmation should be provided that they have been checked for consistency in baseline/background information and style of reporting.

Proposed mitigation measures:

The report should include a section on mitigation measures which should clearly state whether any mitigation measures are proposed, what those measures are, and how they are to be secured. Where recommendations relate to measures which have been incorporated into the planning application, this should be clearly stated. Consideration should be given to providing a schedule of mitigation where appropriate.

Recommendations or conclusion:


A record, where relevant to the outcome of any pre-application discussions and / or correspondence concerning the information to be submitted.

Streamlining assessments - summary template.pdf



Telephone: 0131 244 7528

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