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Financial Implications of Implementing the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019

August 2019

This research has been undertaken to assess the impact of the changes made to the planning system by the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 and start a productive discussion on how to more effectively resource the planning service.

The key findings are:

  • 49 new and unfunded additional duties have been placed on planning authorities by the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019.
  • The cost of implementing these could be between £12.1M and £59.1M over a ten year period.
  • If this is the case it is estimated that staff numbers will need to increase from between 1.9% and 9.4% to merely maintain a 'business as usual' planning service.
  • If central funding for communities wishing to produce Local Place Plans is not secured an additional cost of £3.28M and £9.84M could be incurred by planning authorities over a ten year period
  • 40 additional duties have been placed on Scottish Government, which could lead to a saving of between £0.28M and £0.33M has been made over a ten year period.

Read the report here.

Resourcing the Planning System: Key Trends and Findings 2019

April 2019

This research has been published to inform discussion on the future resourcing of the planning system in Scotland. It has looked at a number of information sources and has explored the resources available in planning authorities, including budgets, staff, income, responsibilities and workforce.

The key findings are:

  • The planning system has been severely impacted due to budget cuts
  • Planning services are suffering most severely of all local government services due to budget cuts
  • Over a quarter of planning department staff have been cut since 2009
  • Planning application fees do not cover the costs of processing planning applications
  • The current Planning Bill will substantially increase the number of duties on planning authorities without providing new resources
  • The pipeline of new planners is limited

Read the report here.

Delivering Cleaner Air for Scotland: Development Planning and Development Management

January 2017

The planning system has an important role to play in improving air quality and reducing exposure to air pollution. This is recognised in current Scottish Government policy, as set out in the Cleaner Air for Scotland Strategy - The Road to a Healthier Future, and the National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy.

Environmental Protection Scotland and the Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland revised and updated the 2015 UK guidance on Planning and Air Quality Protection (written by the Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) and Environmental Protection UK). This makes it relevant for the Scottish planning system and air quality objectives, to ensure that air quality is adequately considered in development planning and development management in Scotland.

Read the report here.

Linking People and Places: A Routemap for Better Connecting Spatial and Community Planning

July 2016

The routemap has been developed through close examination of three Community Planning Partnership (CPP) and Planning Authority areas in East Ayrshire; City of Edinburgh and Highland. The key areas where it was considered practical action could be taken were: 

  • Community Plans should be seen as the overarching plan for an area and the Local Development Plan and Strategic Development Plans should look to deliver it spatially
  • spatial planners should be recognised as key people in the CPP's in-house delivery team contributing to their land use and infrastructure knowledge and contacts and expertise in project delivery
  • key engagement stages during preparation of Community and Development Plans should be shared so they are seen by the public as one consultation
  • there is potential to have a "Call for Assets and Ideas" that engages local communities as well as developers in development and community plans
  • greater use should be made of Local and Strategic Development Plan Action Programmes as helpful tools for co-ordinating and progressing delivery of CPP projects and infrastructure
  • Local Outcomes Improvement Plans and Locality Plans are good starting points for collaborative working between community planning and spatial planning

The development of the routemap was support by funding from Scottish Government.

You can read the report here.

Progressing Performance: Investing in Scotland's Planning Service

March 2017

This infosheet brings the key statistics from our 2015 report up to date.

October 2015

This report highlighting a significant decrease in resources in the planning service. It outlines that:   

  • there has been close to a 20% reduction in planning department staff in Scotland since 2010
  • gross expenditure in planning authorities will have dropped by £40 million between 2010/11 and 2015/16
  • the cost of processing planning applications is not met by fees – on average only 63% of costs are covered  
  • despite the loss of resources, average processing times for local planning applications have shortened by a week since 2013

You can read the report here.

You can read an executive summary of the report here.

You can read an infographics sheet summarising the paper here.

Linking People and Places: Spatial and Community Planning

March 2015

This research explored if there is a disconnect between spatial and community planning and if so, how we can address this and what the benefits of a greater connection between processes might be for all parties. The research led to a number of recommendations for taking work forward: 

  • there needs to be recognition of the starting points to making links between spatial planning and community planning
  • there are opportunities to align processes to help deliver spatial planning and community planning outcomes more effectively and efficiently
  • spatial planning needs to articulate to community planning what it can do
  • Community Planning Partnerships need to recognise the need for, and role of, spatial planning in delivering community planning
  • there needs to be more effective communication between spatial and community planning actors
  • there is a need to improve spatial planners' knowledge of community planning and where they can contribute
  • there is a need to explore the landscape of plans for overlap and consistency
  • there is a need to be clear about roles and responsibilities at different levels
  • there is a need to explore how community-led approaches contribute to the delivery of both Community Plan and Development Plan outcomes
  • there is a need to 'drill down' further to explore practical opportunities
    and barriers

 You can read the full report here.