Scotland planning news, October 2020


Scotland planning news, October 2020

12 Oct 2020



Headline news



Scottish Government outlines £24bn of spending in infrastructure plan

The Scottish Government has introduced its Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan (IIP) setting out its plans to invest £24bn within the five year period starting 2021-22 to 2025-26. The primary aim of the plan will be to facilitate a green economic recovery after the Coronavirus pandemic with some of the key features including finding uses for existing infrastructure and decarbonising large sections of the economy, while building new schools and health facilities.
Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson unveiled the draft IIP in the Scottish Parliament on the 24th September and stated that “This Plan makes good on that commitment, turning our green economic recovery into reality and helping to support 45,000 jobs”.
The draft Plan emphasises the importance of a ‘Place’ based approach, and the importance of investment contributing towards building resilient and sustainable places. £11 billion of the funding will be invested in cities, towns and rural areas, this includes £2.8 billion of capital investment to deliver more affordable and social homes, ‘to support Local Housing Strategies and regional development priorities.’ A further £2 billion has also been on developing health infrastructure, and £500 million for the extension of full fibre broadband to businesses and households in rural areas.
£275 million has also been earmarked to help regenerate town centres; and £35 million to support the delivery of a new, open-access, digital planning system.

Scottish Government, £24bn infrastructure plan will boost jobsScottish Government, A National Mission with Local Impact - Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan



Quote of the month


We are living in turbulent times and it is essential that government shows leadership and provides stability and certainty. The Draft IIP provides a robust pipeline of work that will help stimulate a green recovery and offer high quality, sustainable jobs in all parts of Scotland.

Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson

Further extension of time for planning permissions set to expire during COVID-19 emergency period

The Town and Country Planning (Emergency Period and Extended Period) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 were laid before Parliament on 25 August 2020 and came into force on 5 October 2020.
The Regulations provide for a further extension of time to implement planning permissions that are set to expire during the COVID-19 ‘emergency period’.
This was previously extended back in April by Schedule 7 of the Coronavirus Act (Scotland) 2020. The Act defined the ‘emergency period’ as starting on 7 April 2020 and ending 6 October 2020. The time limit for implementing permissions set to expire during this period were automatically extended to 6 April 2021, defined in the Act as the ‘extended period’.
The ‘emergency period’ has now been extended until 31 March 2021. The ‘extended period’ in which relevant planning permissions will need to be implemented will end on 30 September 2021. A permission would only lapse if the development has not commenced before the end of the ‘emergency period’.
Similar provisions are also in place for listed building consents, by way of the provisions set out under the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No. 2) Act 2020. The ‘emergency period’ as defined in this Act has also been extended by the Town and Country Planning (Emergency Period and Extended Period) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, until 31 March 2021.

The Town and Country Planning (Emergency Period and Extended Period) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020, Schedule 7

Chief Planner confirms current position on the ‘presumption in favour’ policy

On 4th September the Chief Planner of Scotland, John McNairney, wrote to all Heads of Scottish Planning Authorities to clarify points relating to the Scottish Government’s ongoing consultation regarding potential changes to Scottish planning policy. The consultation seeks views on Scottish Minister’s intention to remove the following sentence of the SPP: “This SPP introduces a presumption in favour of development that contributes to sustainable development.”
McNairney’s letter addresses concerns that some planning authorities have been giving weight to the potential changes during current planning decisions. However, it is stated in this letter that all existing policy remains in place until the consultation concludes. More detail on the proposed changes can be found in our August edition of the Scottish Planning News which can be found here.
The consultation closes on the 9th October and a position on the final policy is expected soon afterwards.

Scottish Government, Consultation on housing and Scottish planning policy: Chief Planner letter

Chief Planner provides clarity over consents and variations to planning permissions for energy generating ancillary uses

The Chief Planner of Scotland John McNairney, has issued a letter to all heads of planning seeking to clarify several matters relating to the granting of energy consents and related planning permissions in Scotland.
The first matter covered confirms that development relating to energy battery storage should be treated as an electricity generating station, as such applications should be considered under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1987. The letter also confirms that battery storage facilities that are constructed as extensions to existing electricity generating stations, should also be considered under Section 36 of Act.
The next matter discussed concerns instances where an applicant wishes to alter the terms of energy consents, by varying the conditions attached to any associated planning permissions. The letter clarifies that where the alteration relates to compliance with a condition about an ancillary element of the development imposed on the grant of a deemed planning permission, applications for that change should be considered via Section 42 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997. This is also the case for the development of any overhead power lines.
Lastly, the letter also draws attention to the recently published Town and Country Planning (notification of applications) (applications under Section 42) (Scotland) Direction 2020, which came into force on 28 August 2020. The direction requires Scottish Ministers to be notified of any applications made to authorities under section 42 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997. This is to ensure that Ministers are aware of the implementation of planning permissions deemed to be granted by them, where development is not in compliance with conditions attached to the original deemed planning consent.

Scottish Government, Battery storage consents: Chief Planner letter August 2020

Proposed changes to pre-application consultation requirements for planning

The Scottish Government has opened a consultation regarding  proposals to change the pre-application consultation (PAC) requirements with local communities for large scale national developments. A 2016 report titled ‘Empowering Planning to Deliver Great Places’ had previously highlighted how PACs can become a ‘tick box’ exercise with a lack of opportunities for communities to engage prior to the final application being submitted.
To address this, the main changes proposed include a requirement for the information to be available both in hard copy and online, a further public event, and exemption from PAC in certain circumstances.
The Consultation will also seek views how disabled people can engage with the process.
The Consultation closes on the 6th November 2020.

Scottish Government, Proposed changes to pre-application consultation requirements: consultation

Scottish Government sets intention to start ‘Rebuilding better’

Scottish Government has announced a raft of measures to support the economic recovery from COVID-19, which aim to build a stronger, fairer and greener economic future.
The Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop confirmed a number of key actions which include proposals to explore options to alleviate planning restraints, build capacity and deal more quickly with complex applications. The measures form part of the Scottish Government’s response to the recent reports from the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery and the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board.
As for the former of these, the Scottish Government’s full response also confirms its intention to publish a Digital Planning Strategy this November, soon to be followed by a five-year transformation programme to deliver new digital tools. The document also confirms that the Scottish Government will undertake a comprehensive review of national planning policy and the potential to extend permitted development rights.

Scottish Government, Rebuilding better

Economic Recovery Implementation Plan: Scottish Government response to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery

Consultation launched on extending permitted development rights in Scotland

The Scottish Government has published a consultation on its phase 1 proposals for reviewing and extending permitted development rights for developments which are considered a priority. This priority category includes digital telecommunications infrastructure; agricultural development; peatland restoration; and development related to active travel.
These primary designations are designed to help Scotland in its green recovery from coronavirus with an emphasis on sustainability and supporting rural communities. The consultation is also seeking views on the updates to the Sustainability Appraisal as well as the impact assessments for the proposed changes. The Consultation is now open for responses and closes on the 12th November 2020.

Scottish Government: Reviewing and Extending Permitted Development Rights: Consultation

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