Scottish planning fees to increase; changes to planning obligations; review of performance & other changes

Local Government and Planning Minister Derek Mackay has announced a package of measures to further reform planning in Scotland. The measures are designed to speed up the updating of local development plans, streamline certain processes in the planning system and to extend permitted development rights.

Subject to parliamentary approval, planning fees will increase by 20%. The Scottish Government has said that the level of Scottish planning fees will remain lower than those in England and Wales for most categories of development and will generate £4-£5 million to support the work of planning authorities.

Summary of the changes:

  • an increase in planning fees of 20% in April 2013;
  • the formation of a high level group will review planning performance, and look at proposals to consider linking performance with wider reform of planning fees;
  • £673,000 to help planning authorities to deal with applications for wind turbines;
  • £55,000 additional funding to Planning Aid for Scotland;
  • an additional £20,000 to Heads of Planning Scotland for training support;
  • publication of revised guidance on planning obligations - Circular 3/12: Planning obligations and Good Neighbour Agreements) (see below for more details); and
  • confirmation that the changes to permitted development rights consulted on in 2012 will be implemented in 2013, with the exception of changes to agricultural and forestry tracks.

The Scottish Government have also laid amendments to planning legislation before Parliament which are detailed below. If approved, the changes will come into force on 2nd February 2013.

The Scottish Government's press release can be read here.