Transforming Planning in Practice: updated planning reform implementation programme

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 sets the future structure of Scotland’s planning system and forms an important part of our wider planning reforms. The 2019 Act includes a broad range of changes to be made across the planning system.

Other workstreams

In addition to the implementation of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, we are taking forward a number of other strands of work under the wider planning reform programme.

Permitted development rights

We are undertaking a substantial review of permitted development rights that are granted by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992 (as amended). Through Phase 1, we introduced new permitted development rights earlier this year for: digital telecommunications infrastructure; agricultural development; peatland restoration; development related to active travel; and aquaculture development. We expect to consult on Phase 2 in early 2022.

Land value uplift capture

We will progress work towards an effective, fair mechanism for capturing, for public benefit, a share of the increase in land value that occurs when development is supported through the planning system. As part of our ongoing review of existing mechanisms, we commissioned and recently published research on the use of Section 75 planning obligations. The findings, together with the new power for an infrastructure levy introduced by the Act, will inform our next steps on this important area, with a view to introducing new legislation in 2023-24.

Compulsory purchase reform

In the coming year, and in advance of a Bill later in this parliamentary term, we will commence stakeholder engagement towards future reform and modernisation of the compulsory purchase system in Scotland so that it can be clearer, fairer and faster for all parties. This will help support the delivery of much‑needed infrastructure, development and regeneration projects in the public interest.

Digital planning

We published a Digital Strategy for Planning in November 2020, setting out a framework for a digital planning system based on people, data, technology, working practices and a culture of innovation. We have secured a 5 year, £35 million funding commitment to support the delivery of its priorities and actions. The Digital Transformation Programme will provide a comprehensive new suite of digital services for planning. The programme got underway recently, a programme board has been appointed and met for the first time in July and the first procurement opportunities have been issued. In the early stages, we are embarking on a pilot roll-out of a digital community engagement tool and will begin to comprehensively improve the online process of applying for planning permission, for greater speed and clarity for applicants.


Ultimately, the reforms of the planning system must ensure we are creating great places for all. So we will broaden our programme on the promotion of place by implementing the Place Principle. We are launching a new Our Place website with information, tools and resources to help support the development of places and services that improve our health, prosperity, and quality of life, and protect our environment. We will also support the delivery of 20 Minute Neighbourhoods, as places where people can have their needs met locally within a 20 minute walk from their homes, reducing emissions and encouraging active travel.



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