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23/07/19 09:41

Planning application decision times published

Official Statistics Publications for Scotland

The average decision time for Local Development decisions in 2018-19 matched the quickest average decision time since 2012-13.

The average decision time for 25,244 Local Developments in 2018-19 was 9.0 weeks, matching the time for the previous year which was the quickest annual decision time since the start of this data collection in 2012-13.

Local housing applications were decided in an average of 12.3 weeks, slightly slower than the previous year (12.2 weeks), but which follows five years of annual decreases in average times prior to this.

The average decision time was influenced by a small number of applications with lengthy decision times, the percentage of local housing applications with decisions within two months has increased by 1.8 percentage points from 54.9% in 2017-18 to 56.7% in 2018-19.

Major Development decisions were quicker on average in 2018-19.

The average decision time for 207 Major Developments in 2018-19 was 32.5 weeks, just over a week quicker than the average of 33.6 weeks in the previous year. Major housing applications were decided in an average of 35.1 weeks, more than three weeks quicker than the previous year (38.2 weeks) and the quickest annual decision time since the start of this data collection in 2012-13.

For the year 2018-19 the overall rate of approvals for all types of application was 93.7%. The delegation rate was 95.8%, the highest rate since the start of this data collection in 2012-13.

Background

Statistics on annual and quarterly planning performance in Scotland have been released today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician.

Key Findings for the year 2018-19 (figures exclude pre-3rd August 2009 legacy cases)

Reduction in number of planning applications decided in 2018-19 compared with previous years.

 - the number of Local Development decisions in 2018-19 totalled 27,373, a decrease of 2% (518 applications) from the previous year
-  the number of Major Development decisions in 2018-19 totalled 325, a decrease of 2% (6 applications) from 2017-18
- the number of applications that were subject to processing agreements increased by 29% from 2,106 in 2017-18 to 2,716 in 2018 -19. There were 2,129 local applications (8% of all local applications) and 118 major applications (36% of all major applications) subject to processing agreements in 2018-19

The overall average decision time for local development applications equalled the quickest annual decision time since the start of this data collection in 2012-13.

- decision times for Local Development applications not subject to processing agreements matched the 2017- 18 annual average decision time of 9.0 weeks, the quickest since the start of this data collection in 2012-13
- improvements were seen in average decision times for householder applications as well as for applications for business and industry, minerals, waste management and other developments
- a total of 16 out of 34 planning authorities have reported improvements in their average decision time for Local Developments in 2018-19 compared to 2017-18

Decrease in average decision time for major developments that were not subject to a processing agreement.
decision times for Major Development applications not subject to processing agreements were quicker by an average of just over a week compared with 2017-18 (32.5 weeks compared with 33.6 weeks in 2017-18)

- improvements were seen in average decision times for applications for housing, business and industry and electricity generation
- a total of 14 out of 29 planning authorities with major application decisions in both 2018-19 and 2017-18 have reported improvements in their average decision time 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. Almost two thirds of Major applications (136 of 207) in 2018-19 were decided in a time quicker than the average of 32.5 weeks

Quarterly trends are reported in the full statistical publications.

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

The figures presented in this Statistical News Release exclude pre 3rd August 2009 cases.

Applications concluded through the use of a processing agreement are not included in average decision time calculations. Processing agreements are used to agree timescales for decisions between the developer and the local authority, and can be made either at the beginning of the application process or at a later stage.

Some applications exclude time periods in which particular delays have been out with the control of planning authorities.  Further information on these types of applications is available in the full statistical publications.

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 publications 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. Read more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland.