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Scottish portal clocks up online milestone

Words: Roger Milne
One million submissions / iStock-1224375090

The Scottish Government’s online planning and building warrant portal has just reached an important milestone – it has now received more than one million planning and building standards submissions online.

New figures published show:

  • Online demand has nearly doubled since the site was launched in 2016.
  • Over 95 per cent of planning permission and 86 per cent of building warrant submissions are made through the eplanning portal.

The eDevelopment.scot service came into its own during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The pandemic reduced the ability of planning authorities to process paper applications. However, the web service allowed applicants and agents to easily prepare and submit planning and building standards applications online without paying professional fees.

Going online has helped applicants and planning authorities to save up to £169 million since 2016, the government has claimed.

It estimates that the service has contributed savings of up to £127 million for applicants, with a more efficient submission regime (no printouts of drawings required, less time in posting applications, and so on), and £42 million savings for planning authorities since its launch through efficiencies in the way applications are processed.

Planning minister Tom Arthur said: “During the next five years the government will continue to digitalise our planning system.

“This is a complete rethink of how we all engage and interact with planning, making sure everyone can find the knowledge and the tools that help us make the best choices for our futures.

“These latest figures show that this digital innovation, which helps to place people at the heart of our approach, has created significant savings for applicants and planning authorities alike.”

A government spokesperson added: “This year a digital tool is being introduced to enable greater community participation and data-driven smart applications for submitting planning proposals, laying foundations for the five-year programme.”

The government has committed to investing £35m to digitally transform Scotland’s planning system.

Image | iStock