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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-05814

  • Asked by: Stephen Kerr, MSP for Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Date lodged: 20 January 2022
  • Current status: Answered by Tom Arthur on 1 February 2022


To ask the Scottish Government what work is underway with local authorities to develop the necessary capacity building and training to ensure a planning system fit for net zero is established by 2022.


The Scottish Government is engaging closely with COSLA and Heads of Planning Scotland to understand the pressures faced by the planning service and to promote a highly performing system which can deliver on the ambitions for planning set out in the emerging NPF4.

Consideration of capacity and skills in planning is informed by recent research commissioned by Skills Development Scotland, undertaken by EKOS and published by Partners in Planning, available at The research report provides an independent perspective on the challenges faced and a series of proposed actions. Scottish Government is working with the other partner members of Partners in Planning to take forward the proposed actions to help ensure the future pipeline of planners needed to deliver on our ambitions. This includes supporting a short project recently commissioned by Heads of Planning Scotland and the RTPI to explore options and set out proposals to help increase the numbers of people entering the planning profession.

Reviewing the planning performance and fee regime is a key part of our planning reform programme. We are currently progressing proposals to increase planning fees, following a public consultation carried out in 2019-2020. Although implementation of these proposals was postponed during the pandemic, this work has now recommenced and we will shortly lay regulations in the Scottish Parliament bringing the proposed fee increases into effect. The new regulations are expected to come into force in April 2022, subject to parliamentary scrutiny. The proposed measures would increase fees by between 25 and 50% in some cases, moving fees closer to covering authorities’ costs in determining the applications and providing substantial additional income to authorities.

Ministers will also shortly undertake recruitment and appointment of a new national planning improvement coordinator for Scotland. The core purpose of the coordinator’s role will be to support improvement within the Scottish planning system, by providing constructive input which promotes an outcomes-based approach.