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Speeding Up The Planning System

28th April 2009

A new online system to enable people in all parts of Scotland to apply for developments, appeal against decisions and track progress of proposals has been launched.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said that the 11.2 million ePlanning initiative will make Scotland's planning system simpler, faster and more accessible, providing a consistent level of service throughout the country. It is anticipated that ePlanning will save planning authorities 16.7 million over 10 years, and save users, including developers, a further 43.8 million.

Mr Swinney said: "In this very challenging economic climate, the Scottish Government is working to ensure all activity on planning and regulation, supports economic development.

"The launch of ePlanning, one of the actions detailed in our economic recovery programme, will benefit planning authorities, communities, applicants and the business community.

"It will produce significant cost savings for councils and applicants, including the development industry, at a time when Scotland is feeling the effects of the global downturn, producing a system that is easier to use and process.

"This is a significant step in our drive to ensure Scotland's planning system acts as an aid rather than a barrier to increasing sustainable economic growth.

"It builds on a wide-ranging package of improvements we are implementing together in partnership with local government, the development industry and our agencies, to produce a planning system that is fit for purpose."

ePlanning will provide:

A facility to apply online for planning permission or an appeal
More planning information online, allowing the progress of applications and appeals to be tracked and decisions to be better understood
A mechanism to consult electronically with statutory consultees
Information on local development plans
Councillor Ian Ross, Chairman of Highland Council's Planning Environment and Development Committee, said:

"We are pleased to be involved in this initiative, which promises to make the planning process simpler for the public. In a rural area, such as Highland, the benefits will be all the more apparent. Customers will be able to submit online a planning application using the new web access. Maps, plans and other associated documents can be attached."

Major elements of the system were launched at a planning summit in Edinburgh today attended by Ministers and representatives of local government, agencies and the development industry.

It follows a wide-ranging package of improvements announced by the Scottish Government last October to make Scotland's planning system leaner and fitter.

The Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) has also launched a new service. Details of all appeals and all documents considered by the decision maker are now published on the internet where there is access to all current cases.

ePlanning has been developed in partnership with all of Scotland's councils, national parks, the Directorate of Planning and Environment Appeals, Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Transport Scotland, Scottish Water and the Scottish Government.

ePlanning web site

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