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Reforming the planning system

We published a Places, People and Planning position statement in June 2017 which sets out our future priorities for the planning system in Scotland. This statement is accompanied by a Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) Environmental Report. We are now inviting views on the potential environmental effects of the proposals for change.

The Position Statement takes account of the responses to the consultation Places, People and Planning – a consultation on the future of Scotland's planning system. An independent analysis of the responses was also published in June 2017.

The Position Statement proposes both legislative and non-legislative changes. Primary legislation changes will be taken forward through a Planning Bill expected to come before Parliament in winter 2017. Further changes will be made through secondary legislation following the Bill.

Your views

We welcome views on the Position Statement and the SEA. These can be made on the Citizen Space website. If you've already expressed your views in relation to Places, People and Planning then you don't need to restate these as they have been taken into account. If you do not want to use the online system then you can email comments to by including a completed respondent information form. The questions are also available in a word document (Places, People and Planning consultation: position statement questions (word doc)).

Supporting documents

We have assessed our proposals for their impacts on various different sectors. We will update and complete these assessments over the coming months prior to the introduction of the Planning Bill. The assessments are listed below:


We have commissioned research projects to support development of the consultation paper. These cover:

Simplifed Planning Zones (SPZs)

Ministers have now offered grant support totalling around £120,000 to four planning authorities to bring forward SPZs: Argyll and Bute Council; Dumfries and Galloway Council in partnership with Architecture and Design Scotland; Aberdeenshire; and North Ayrshire Council. The pilot projects will explore different uses of SPZs in different settings and will support innovative housing delivery including self- and custom-build. We will provide updates as the projects progress.


An independent panel was appointed by Scottish Ministers to review the planning system. In May 2016 they published their final report, 'Empowering planning to deliver great places'. This contained 48 recommendations for reform over six main themes.

The authors also published a Planning Review Panel Statement as a companion to the document.

In July 2016, Ministers issued the Planning review: Scottish Government response to the panel's report which stated that they agreed in principle with many of the recommendations.

In January 2017 we published a consultation on the future of planning in Scotland which ran until April 2017. The consultation paper, 'Places, people and planning', set out 20 proposals for change to strengthen the planning system and support sustainable economic growth across the country. The proposals build on the recommendations of the independent review of the planning system.

Our Planning consultation participation statement outlines the activities undertaken during the consultation period. This includes details of working groups which were brought together to support the development of proposals throughout the process. A list of people who attended, together with a summary of the discussion and outcomes from the themed groups, are available below.

Supplementary documents:

Email or phone 0131 244 7059 with enquiries.