How does planning affect you?
Planning affects everyone, and everyone has a right to have their say about matters that affect their lives. Core to proper planning is balancing the need for appropriate development with the desire to protect both the landscapes that we cherish and the environmental quality that is vital for life and wellbeing. Knowing about the planning system can help us all to make informed choices about the future of rural Scotland.
At APRS, we believe that the planning system should work for the long-term interest of communities and the environment. We work to ensure the planning system protects landscapes and benefits biodiversity and communities across Scotland and have produced an introductory advice note on the planning system and are producing updated information and guidance on more specific topics. You can find these in our usual resources below.
Each Local Authority has a dedicated planning team. Find your Local Authority planning website here.
- Argyll & Bute
- Dumfries & Galloway
- East Ayrshire
- East Dunbartonshire
- East Lothian
- East Renfrewshire
- North Ayrshire
- North Lanarkshire
- Perth & Kinross
- Scottish Borders
- South Ayrshire
- South Lanarkshire
- West Dunbartonshire
- West Lothian
- Western Isles
Background to Planning in Scotland
The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 states that the purpose of planning is “to manage the development and use of land in the long term public interest”. Anything which contributes to sustainable development or achieves Scotland’s national outcomes is considered to be in the long term public interest.
National Planning Framework
The National Planning Framework (NPF) is the long-term strategic spatial plan for Scotland. It sets out the main developments which the Scottish Government (SG) wants to see, and where they should take place across Scotland. The current NPF4, adopted in February 2023, can be read here. More information about the changes associated with NPF4 are on the Transforming Planning website
NPF4 includes new National Planning Policy (replacing the previous Scottish Planning Policy -SPP- dating from 2014). It sets out the Scottish Government’s top-level national planning policies indicating which types of development and use of land should and should not be permitted. The National Planning Policy is contained in Part 2 of NPF4.
Local Development Plans
Development Plans in Scotland, since NPF4, are made up of the Local Development Plan (LDP) for that area and NPF4. Local Development Plans produced by local planning authorities – the Councils or National Park Authorities. This means that planning applications should be assessed against the policies and strategy set out in both these documents.
Scottish Government Guidance
The Scottish Government has issued guidance on how Local development plans should be implemented so that they deliver the new-style place-based, people-centred and delivery-focussed plans. It brings together requirements from the Act and Regulations and advice in relation to National Planning Framework 4.
Regional Spatial Strategies
Before the introduction of NPF4, four areas of Scotland – the regions around the four main cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee – were covered by Strategic Development Plans (SDPs). Now that NPF4 is in place SDPs are no longer in force. All areas of Scotland are to be covered by Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS) which groups of planning authorities can produce jointly if they wish. In 2023 the Scottish Government have produced indicative RSS but they have not yet been consulted on. New LDPs must have regard to relevant RSS but the RSS are not part of the Development Plan.
Green Belts Alliance
APRS support groups and individuals campaigning to protect their green belt through our APRS Green Belts Alliance. We create guidance, campaign, meet as a network and have a regular email newsletter on issues of interest. Join the Green Belts Alliance to get involved and help protect your local green belt!
Check out our Green Belts campaign page, where you can join the Green Belts Alliance