The Scottish Government is committed to improving the planning system by: strengthening the involvement of communities; speeding up decisions; reflecting local views better, and; allowing quicker investment decisions. Planning can make an important contribution to the delivery of the Governments key objective of increasing sustainable economic growth. The Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 1 , has introduced far reaching changes designed to modernise the planning system.
E-planning is an integral part of Planning's modernisation and culture change. New technology has huge potential to make the planning service more transparent, accessible and efficient. The Scottish Government has been working with planning authorities since 2001 to coordinate the use of new technology in planning service delivery. It has committed £10.5m in funds to support the design and roll-out of a common, integrated e-planning system for planning authorities across Scotland. The aim is to provide a speedier, more accessible and more efficient option for planning applications, appeals and development plans.
The vision for e-Planning is to manage the transition from primarily paper-based to electronic processes throughout the planning system. The aim is to drive efficiencies from the planning process, enhance citizen facing services, offer greater choice and convenience of access and to ensure this is delivered consistently across Scotland.
Planning Advice Note 70: Electronic Planning Service Delivery identifies how new technology can improve the delivery of the planning system. It sets out the online information and services that need to be provided by the Scottish Government, Planning Authorities and other organisations responsible for the efficient operation of the planning system.
The Town and Country Planning (Electronic Communications) (Scotland) Order 2004 came into effect on 28 July 2004 2 . The Order, made under sections 8 and 9 of the Electronic Communications Act 2000, allows for the use of electronic communications for certain procedures within the town and country planning system. It does this by amending existing legislation to remove legal impediments to the use of electronic communication and storage for planning purposes. Information on the order is available in SEDD Circular 3/2004 3 .