REMOVAL OF OTHER STANDARD NOTIFICATION CATEGORIES
18. The 2007 Notification Direction and its predecessors included a range of other triggers for notification of planning applications to Scottish Ministers (e.g. development contrary to development plans; major retail development; development subject to environmental impact assessment), which do not feature in the new direction. Removing these categories certainly does not signal that Scottish Ministers are no longer interested in any of the developments which would previously have been notified under any of these categories. However, it is clear that in the past a very significant proportion of those planning applications have not raised any issues of national interest which would have merited Ministerial intervention. It has been an inefficient method of considering a need for a national planning decision, and a regulatory burden, which has led to far too many planning permissions being delayed.
19. Scottish Government planning officials will take a far more proportionate approach to requiring notification of these other planning applications to Ministers, so as to pick up only those which seem likely to raise issues of national importance. Other than in the circumstances contained in the Schedule to the Direction, as explained at paragraphs 13 to 17 above, the future method for requiring notification will be by issuing case-specific notification directions to require the specified applications to be passed to Scottish Ministers. Such directions will only be issued where it appears there may be some matter of national interest involved, requiring consideration as to whether call in by Ministers might be necessary. On occasions where the Scottish Government issues a case-specific notification direction to a planning authority, it will do so as early as possible in the process to ensure certainty for all concerned. It does not follow though that any application notified to Scottish Ministers will subsequently be called in; it simply allows an opportunity to consider whether that action would be necessary.
20. To operate this new approach, Scottish Government planning officials will develop closer links with planning authority officials to identify current and future applications with a possible national interest. This enhanced liaison will be supported by new online planning information systems, introduced through the e-planning programme, which will provide further means for Scottish Government officials to keep abreast of major developments across Scotland.
21. The new arrangements will provide early clarity for planning authorities and applicants over applications which should, and those which should not, be notified to Scottish Ministers. Importantly, these arrangements will remove the burden on planning authorities to notify large numbers of applications unnecessarily.