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What is the Planning Reform Programme?

An independent panel were appointed to carry out a review of Scotland’s planning system in 2015.  They concluded that the main structure of the system was not broken, however, for the potential of planning to be realised, a strong commitment to change practices, culture, and to re-focus the profession’s improvement agenda would be required.

The Scottish Government agreed with that assessment, and embarked on a programme of change to simplify and strengthen the planning system to ensure it better serves all of Scotland’s communities; and to reposition planning as a positive enabler of the high quality development our communities need.

The review identified six key outcomes to guide this planning reform:

  • Strong and flexible development plans
  • The delivery of more high quality homes
  • An infrastructure first approach to planning and development
  • Efficient and transparent development management
  • Stronger leadership, smarter resourcing and sharing of skills
  • Collaboration rather than conflict – inclusion and empowerment

Wide engagement and collaboration following the review led to the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, passed by the Scottish Parliament in June 2019. Our work is continuing to implement the Act and wider planning reforms; with focus remaining on those six key outcomes.

The pages of this section include the essential information and resources from the planning reform programme to date; and the work programme to complete the transformation of Scotland’s planning system.

You can also keep in touch with all the latest developments and opportunities to give your views by following us on Twitter @ScotGovPlanning and registering for our Planning and Architecture News updates.

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National Planning Framework 4

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Last Updated: 07 Jun 2023