Planning application decision times published
An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland
Local Development decisions were quicker in 2017/18. The average decision time for Local Developments (26,220 applications) in 2017/18 was 9.0 weeks, over one day quicker than the average of 9.2 weeks in the previous year and the quickest annual figure since the start of this data collection in 2012/13. Local housing applications were decided in an average of 12.2 weeks, three and a half days quicker than the previous year (12.7 weeks).
Major Development decisions were quicker in 2017/18. The average decision time for Major Developments (238 applications) in 2017/18 was 33.6 weeks, almost three weeks quicker than the average of 36.4 weeks in the previous year. Major housing applications were decided in an average of 38.2 weeks, more than five weeks quicker than the previous year (43.4 weeks) and the quickest annual figure since the start of this data collection in 2012/13.
For the year 2017/18 the overall rate of approvals for all types of application was 93.7%. The delegation rate was 95.7%, the highest rate over the past eight years.
Statistics on annual and quarterly planning performance in Scotland have been released today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician.
Annual Trends (excludes legacy cases and processing agreements)
Key Findings for the year 2017/18 (figures exclude pre-3rd August 2009 legacy cases and applications subject to processing agreements)
Reduction in number of planning applications decided in 2017/18 compared with previous five years.
- The number of Local Development decisions in 2017/18 totalled 26,220, a decrease of 3% (766 applications) from the previous year. This drop was largely due to fewer decisions for householder applications (539 fewer).
- The number of Major Development decisions in 2017/18 totalled 238, a decrease of 3% (8 applications) from 2016/17. There were decreases in other developments, business and industry and electricity generation while decided applications for housing, minerals and waste management increased.
- In contrast, the number of applications that were subject to processing agreements increased by 40% from 1,503 in 2016/17 to 2,106 in 2017/18. There were 1,671 local applications (6% of all local applications) and 93 major applications (28% of all major applications) that were subject to processing agreements in 2017/18.
The overall average decision time for Local Developments is the quickest annual figure since the start of this data collection in 2012/13.
- Local Development decisions were quicker by an average of just over a day compared with 2016/17 (9.0 weeks compared with 9.2 weeks in 2016/17) and were the quickest since the start of this data collection in 2012/13.
- Improvements were seen in average decision times for housing, electricity generation, other developments and AMSCs. In particular, the average decision time for electricity generation was 13.9 weeks for 2017/18, more than 5 weeks quicker than the previous year (19.2 weeks).
- A total of 19 out of 34 planning authorities have reported improvements in their average decision times for Local Developments in 2017/18 compared to 2016/17.
Decrease in average decision time for major developments compared to previous year.
- Major Development decisions were quicker by an average of almost 3 weeks compared with 2016/17 (33.6 weeks compared with 36.4 weeks in 2016/17).
- Decisions were quicker for applications for business and industry (7.7 weeks quicker), minerals (6.1 weeks quicker), housing (5.2 weeks quicker) and waste management (4.6 weeks quicker).
- A total of 17 out of 26 planning authorities with major application decisions in both 2017/18 and 2016/17 have reported improvements in their average decision times for Major Developments since the previous year.
- Average figures based on a relatively small number of Major Development applications can be skewed by a few lengthy decisions. Just over 66% of Major applications in 2017/18 were decided in a time quicker than the average of 33.6 weeks.The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
- Quarterly trends are reported in the full statistical publication.
Notes to Editors
The figures presented in this Statistical News Release exclude pre 3rd August 2009 cases and any applications concluded through the use of a processing agreement between the developer and the local authority, where an agreement on timescales for decisions can be made either at the beginning of the application process or at a later stage. Also, some applications exclude time periods in which particular delays have been outwith the control of planning authorities. Further information on these types of applications is available in the full statistical publication.
Local developments include applications for changes to individual houses and smaller developments for new housing as well as applications covering areas of development such as minerals, business & industry, waste management, electricity generation, freshwater fish farming, marine finfish farming, marine shellfish farming, telecommunications, Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions (AMSCs) and other developments.
Major developments include applications for 50 or more homes, as well as certain waste, water, transport and energy-related developments, larger retail developments, and other developments.
Classification between local and major developments depends on the particular development type. For example, housing developments are classed as major when the application is for 50 or more dwellings or for a site that exceeds two hectares, whereas electricity generation is classed as major when the capacity of the generating station is or exceeds 20 megawatts.
Schemes of Delegation identify who will make the planning authority's decision on different types of planning application, whether it is an appointed officer or elected members. This also influences the route for any subsequent appeal. These schemes are required by legislation and are available on the websites of each planning authority. The delegation rate measures the proportion of planning decisions that are made by appointed officers.
Read the full statistical publication containing a range of annual and quarterly trend information on average decision times by development types and information on delegation and approval rates, appeals and local reviews, and enforcement activity.
An explanatory document providing background information on the planning performance framework is also available.
Official statistics are produced in accordance with professional standards – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/About
 Applications for Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions (AMSCs) relate to conditions attached to planning permission in principle requiring the further approval, consent or agreement of the planning authority for any detailed aspect of the development.