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Planning appeals

We determine certain appeals against decisions made by planning authorities and other bodies across Scotland.

A reporter appointed by ministers decides most appeals. In a small number of cases, ministers will make the decision following the reporters submission and recommendations.

Appeals and casework

We deal with many different appeal types and casework. A guide to planning appeals explains how to make an appeal, and how the appeal process works. Our Planning Appeals Circular 4/2013 provides more detailed guidance on the appeals process.

Submit an appeal through our ePlanning portal. All appeal forms and guidance are also available to download and submit by email or post.

Strict timescales apply to appeals submissions. If you are in any doubt about when to submit an appeal or whether you have the right of appeal in a specific case, contact the authority you applied to or who issued you the decision, order or notice.

Where possible, we publish all documents related to our casework on our case publication site.

Our case file publication protocol provides detail on how we use your information during an appeal.

We also deal with other types of casework on behalf of Scottish Ministers. If you need information on any of these you should contact the body promoting the order, such as the local council or Transport Scotland.


We have introduced webcasting as part of a strategy to enhance public access to open and transparent discussions on planning issues.

How to challenge planning decisions

It is possible to challenge the decisions made by reporters, and we have provided guidance on how this process works.

Development plan examinations

Planning authorities must create development plans for their area and provide an opportunity for the public to make representations about the plan.

If there are any unresolved issues, the authority must submit the plan to ministers for examination. Ministers appoint our reporters to carry this out, after which they will submit a report to the planning authority with their recommendations on changes to the plan.

Any changes to the plan recommended by the reporter are binding, except in circumstances laid out in section 92 of the Development Planning circular.

In an examination of a strategic development plan the reporter will submit a report to ministers who will decide whether to approve the plan in whole, in part, or reject it altogether.

We have published guidance for people who have raised issues with a development plan, which explains the process in detail.

We have provided a list of current and completed development plan examinations.

Core Path Plans

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 established the right of responsible access on or over most land in Scotland, including inland water. To accommodate these rights, local councils must prepare a plan for pathways in their area, or a Core Paths Plan, which the public have a right to object to. If unresolved, the council will submit the plan to ministers, who in turn will appoint our reporters to examine the plans in detail and recommend whether ministers should change the plans.

We have produced guidance on the process of how to make an objection to a Core Path Plan.

Electricity Act cases

Applications to construct or extend an electricity generating station (including an onshore wind farm) with a capacity of more than 50 megawatts are made to the Scottish Ministers under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989. Scottish Ministers also deal with applications to construct overhead electric power lines (section 37) and, where these cannot be agreed, applications for any necessary wayleaves over land for the purpose of constructing or maintaining access to the power lines.

Planning authorities, statutory consultees and the public have the right to object to these types of applications. If there are any unresolved objections, ministers may, and in some cases must, hold an inquiry. In this case we will appoint a reporter. The reporter will make a recommendation to ministers. The minister will make the final decision on the application. The Electricity Act code of practice sets out the procedures to follow in these cases.

Agricultural grants and schemes

If the Directorate for Rural Payments and Inspections (RPID) asks you to repay a grant allocated under the schemes such as the Agricultural Business Development (Scotland) Scheme 2001, or the Farm Business Development (Scotland) Scheme 2001, you can appeal to RPID and ask for a hearing to appeal the decision. In such cases RPID appoints a Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) reporter to hold the hearing. The reporter will recommend their findings on whether the grant should be repaid in full, in part or at all.

Annual reviews and statistics

Our Planning and Environmental Appeals Division annual review looks at our performance and how to improve our service. We also track our progress in projects, and our performance against targets. We keep records of previous years' annual reviews.

We also publish DPEA quarterly performance statistics, as well as information relating to wind turbine appeals and housing appeals.

Comments and complaints

We welcome all comments on the service that we provide. If you are unhappy with any aspect of the service, you can find further guidance in our complaints policy.

Stakeholder Group

We have a stakeholder forum to ensure we take our key stakeholders' and users' views into account.


DPEA Twitter Feed


Telephone: 01324 696400

Scottish Government
Planning and Environmental Appeals Division
4 The Courtyard
Callendar Business Park
Callendar Road