Agricultural and Forestry Buildings and Operations
1. Class 18 of the GPDO establishes permitted development rights (PDR) for agricultural buildings up to 465 square metres or 12 metres in height (reduced to 3 metres in height where the development is within 3 kilometres of the perimeter of an aerodrome). Larger buildings require an application for planning permission, thus ensuring that the effect on the landscape can be fully considered. PDR also do not apply if any part of the building is within 25 metres of a trunk or classified road.
2. Class 18 also provides for a "cordon sanitaire", which excludes permitted development for the construction, extension or use of buildings for housing pigs, poultry, rabbits or animals bred for their skin or fur or for the storage of slurry or sewage sludge within 400 metres of a "protected building". A "protected building", as defined in Class 18, is any permanent building which is normally occupied by people or would be so occupied, if it were in use for purposes for which it is apt; but does not include:
i. a building within the agricultural unit;
ii. a dwelling or other building on another agricultural unit which is used for or in connection with agriculture.
3. Planning authorities should exercise particular care when considering planning applications for houses and other new "protected buildings" within 400m of established livestock units to minimise the potential for future problems of nuisance.
4. For agricultural developments there is a requirement that the development is on agricultural land used for an agricultural purpose and at least 0.4 hectares in size. The provisions in Class 18 make it clear that separate parcels of land cannot be taken into account in calculating the existing threshold of 0.4 hectares, above which permitted development applies. An exception is made in the following areas:
“Argyll and Bute District Council, Badenoch and Strathspey District Council, Caithness District Council, Inverness District Council, Lochaber District Council, Orkney Islands Council, Ross and Cromarty District Council, Shetland Islands Council, Skye and Lochalsh District Council, Sutherland District Council, and Western Isles Council.”
5. In practice, this now relates to the planning authority areas of Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands and Western Isles Councils plus relevant parts of Argyll and Bute and Highland Council areas. In these areas, the 0.4 hectares may be calculated by adding together the areas of separate parcels of land.
6. Class 22 of the GPDO establishes similar PDR for forestry buildings. The restrictions differ somewhat; there is no restriction on the maximum size or height of the building other than a height restriction of 3 metres where the building is within 3 kilometres of an aerodrome. The development must be for forestry purposes on forestry land but there is no minimum area of land. The development must not be within 25 metres of a trunk or classified road. As forestry uses do not involve the keeping of livestock or storage of slurry, there is no ‘cordon sanitaire’ provision.
7. Anyone who wants to carry out development in relation to agricultural and forestry buildings under the permitted development provisions is required to notify the planning authority - this is a condition of the planning permission granted under these provisions. If a developer fails to notify an authority the usual enforcement action for a breach of planning control would be open to the authority.
8. Where a development has been notified and the authority have given notice that prior approval of the authority is required, the development cannot proceed until that approval is given It is therefore in the developer's own interests to submit the details as soon as possible. If however the developer proceeds without submitting details or without, or in contravention of, the authority's approval the normal enforcement measures would again be available for use as the authority deem appropriate in the circumstances of any particular case.
9. Prior notification arrangements apply to:
a) the erection of new agricultural and forestry buildings; and
b) the "significant extension" or "significant alteration" of existing agricultural and forestry buildings which are permitted development under Classes 18 and 22 of Schedule 1 to the GPDO.
Prior notification arrangements also apply to agricultural and forestry private ways, which are the subject of a separate annex.
"Significant extension" and "significant alteration" mean any extension or alteration which would result in:
a) the cubic content of the original building being exceeded by
more than 10%; or
b) the height of the building exceeding the height of the original building.
10. The arrangements mean that the planning permission granted under Classes 18 and 22 for agricultural and forestry buildings cannot be exercised unless the landowner or developer has notified the planning authority and allowed 28 days (from the date on which the planning authority receives the notification) for initial consideration of what is proposed. Planning authorities must decide whether to require full details of the proposed development to be submitted for their approval and ensure that the developer is informed of their decision within the 28 day period. If no request for details or indication that prior approval is required is received within the 28 day period, the developer may proceed to exercise his permitted development rights.
11. The prior notification procedure provides planning authorities with a means of regulating, where necessary, important aspects of new farm and forestry development for which full planning permission is not required by virtue of the GPDO. Provided all the GPDO requirements are met, the principle of whether the development should be permitted is not for consideration. The formal submission of details for approval should only be required in cases where the authority considers that a proposal is likely to have a significant impact on its surroundings. Many proposals notified to authorities under the GPDO will not have such an impact.
12. Long-term conservation objectives will often be served best by ensuring that farming and forestry are able to function successfully. Therefore, in operating the controls, planning authorities should always have full regard to the operational needs of the farming and forestry industries; to the need to avoid imposing any unnecessary or excessively costly requirements; and to the normal considerations of reasonableness. However, they will also need to consider the visual effect of the development on the landscape and the desirability of preserving ancient monuments and their settings, known archaeological sites, the settings of listed buildings, and sites of recognised or designated nature conservation value.
Efficient Handling of Notifications and Details Submitted for Approval
13. The Scottish Ministers attach great importance to the prompt and efficient handling of notifications and any subsequent submissions of details for approval under the provisions of the GPDO. Undue delays could have serious consequences for agricultural and forestry businesses, which are more dependent than most on seasonal and market considerations. The procedures adopted by authorities should be straightforward, simple, and easily understood. Delegation of decisions to officers will help to achieve prompt and efficient handling, and should be extended as far as possible. It is essential that authorities acknowledge receipt of each prior notification, giving the date on which it was received, so that the developer will know when the 28 day period begins. Where the authority does not propose to require the submission of details it should not merely wait for the 28 days to expire but should inform the developer as soon as possible, to avoid any uncertainty and possible delay. Where the authority does decide submission of details is required, it should write to the developer as soon as possible stating clearly and simply exactly what details are needed. Care should be taken not to request more information than is absolutely necessary.
14. There will often be scope for informal negotiations with the developer, as an alternative or preliminary to requiring a formal submission of details. If, as a result of discussions, the developer's original proposal is modified by agreement, he or she is not required to re-notify it formally to the authority in order to comply with the terms of the GPDO condition, but the authority should give its written approval to the modification to make it clear that the developer has authority to proceed with the modified proposals.
Records of Notifications
15. Although there is no statutory requirement to do so, planning authorities should keep records of such notifications.