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Scottish planning bill places more than 60 new duties on planners

Words: Laura Edgar
Increased responsibility for Scottish planners / iStock-104696571

The Planning (Scotland) Bill will place up to 63 new duties and responsibilities on planners without providing additional resources to undertake them, according to RTPI Scotland.

A further 25 responsibilities will be placed on the Scottish Government.

The obligations were introduced into the bill after debate in the Scottish Parliament at stage 2 of its passage. These include the need for planning authorities to make sure that local development plans assess the need for public toilets, water refill points, and preserving disused railway infrastructure.

RTPI Scotland warned that this work comes at a time of severe resourcing pressures for planning departments, which have already seen a 23 per cent loss of planning staff since 2010. The institute also expressed concerns that the bill has not been rigorously costed and would place new demands upon the planning service.

Fraser Carlin, convenor at RTPI Scotland, said: “Adding these new duties to the workload of already stretched planning departments could see the system grind to a halt. If we are not able to process planning applications and agree development plans we won't be able to build more new homes, help regenerate our town centres or protect our most treasured buildings and landscapes.

“Many of these new duties could be covered by existing processes. We urge MSPs to consider carefully if they really need to be included in the bill. The alternative would be to fund them properly and this could cost planning authorities hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

The full analysis can be found on the RTPI website (pdf).

Image credit | iStock