Updates: COVID-19 & Planning

There are a number of planning updates relating to COVID-19 that we’d like to highlight to our affiliated groups and others involved in their local built environment. These changes include permissions for developments by local authorities or health services relating to mitigating the pandemic, a temporary reprieve on the requirement to hold physical public events for pre-application consultations, changes to review bodies meeting in public and the availability of EIAs in physical places. All of these measures are temporary and will be reviewed once the pandemic has passed.


COVID-19: Permitted Development (by local authorities and health service)

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2020 came into effect on 24 April 2020.  It addresses certain development carried out by, or on behalf of local authorities or health service bodies for the purposes of preventing, reducing, mitigating or controlling the effects of the current emergency caused by the spread of the COVID 19 virus and its impacts on public health.

The amendment is time limited and will cease to have effect on or before 31 December 2020, further requiring that any development permitted under the provisions of the Amendment Order be removed or ceased, and the land returned to its previous use and condition within a further 6 month period from that date.


Temporary suspension of PAC requirement to hold ‘public event’

A guidance note has been published explaining the temporary changes to the pre-application consultation (PAC) requirements; including setting out expectations about the replacement of the public event with alternative, web-based approaches.


Local Review Bodies and Hard Copies of EIA Reports

There are also temporary changes to local review bodies meeting in public, and availability of hard copies of EIA reports in physical places. Read the regulations here. Scottish Government promises that Guidance documents will follow.