Non-Material Variation Service

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Non-Material Variation Service.

As previously mentioned on the Planning Edinburgh blog a few weeks ago, this is part of our wider efforts to improve customer service and consistency across the service.

A Non-Material Variation (NMV) application is a proposal to change an approved development that will not significantly alter what was granted planning permission.

Starting from 1 April 2021, we have introduced a new and streamlined way to apply for NMVs, with a new formalised Application Form and Customer Guidance for applying. It will allow us to process NMVs in a more efficient way.

NMV applications will now also be subject to a charge based on the scale of your development.

Developments which are primarily related to improving accessibility for people with disabilities are exempt.

What is a Non-Material Variation?

NMVs are permitted under Section 64 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, which makes provision for the variation of planning permission once it has been granted, provided the changes are not material.

A non-material variation essentially means that the proposed changes to a development will not significantly alter the scheme that was originally granted planning permission.

When considering a request for a non-material variation, planning officers will consider the cumulative impact of the proposed change alongside any other requests for non-material variations that have been made previously.

What permissions does a NMV relate to?

A non-material variation can only relate to a planning permission that has been granted. It is tied to the original planning permission and is not a new consent.

It is also important that you check and confirm any changes with Building Standards to ensure that any variations proposed in your NMV application still comply with the relevant Building Regulations.

How do you apply for a NMV?

All applications for non-material variations should be made using the application form on our website: www.edinburgh.gov.uk/nonmaterialvariations

The application form and supporting drawings should be submitted by email to nonmaterialvariations@edinburgh.gov.uk

Payments should be made online on our new NMV Payment Page – please note that we cannot accept payments over the phone or by cheque.

If an application for a NMV is successful, we will agree the variation in writing and a copy of the decision letter will be added to the planning portal. The drawings will then constitute the approved drawings for your planning permission. The original permission remains in effect but must be read in conjunction with the variations agreed under the NMV application.

If you have any questions, get in touch via nonmaterialvariations@edinburgh.gov.uk

City Plan 2030 – Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme 2020

Housing under construction at Fountainbridge (January 2021)

The Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme (HLACP) is used to assess the supply of land for housing and delivery of new homes. It records the amount of land available for house building, identifies any constraints affecting development and assesses the land supply against the housing supply target and housing land requirement set by the Strategic Development Plan.

As part of these efforts, we have published our annual Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme for 2020. Special thanks to Homes for Scotland and their members, who have provided invaluable input to the audit despite the challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The short video below gives an overview of where we are in terms of land availability and housing completions in Edinburgh.

You can also view the Housing Land Audit and Completions data on our online GIS Atlas , by selecting the Housing Land Audit schedule and Housing Land Audit completions tab in the Planning layer. This can be accessed through the Layer List icon in the top right-hand corner of the Atlas.

The Programme demonstrates that there is more than enough unconstrained housing land to meet the housing land requirements. The key findings from the study are the number of completions recorded for 2019/20 (at nearly 3,000 new homes) is the highest recorded since the late 1990s and the second highest ever recorded. The current effective supply of land is sufficient for 22,696 new homes, substantially above the target of around 15,000. Completions in 2020/21 are expected to fall as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but build rates are expected to rise once more. At current build rates, there is sufficient effective land to last for 9 years.

The study supports the trends identified in the 2019 Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme, this will help identify housing sites and where development is directed as well as assist in the drafting of housing policy for City Plan 2030

You can keep up to date with the City Plan Project by:

  • Subscribing to our blog
  • following us on twitter at @planningedin
  • joining in the conversation by using the #cityplan2030 hashtag.

City Plan 2030 – Consultation and Timetable Update

We are preparing a new Local Development Plan for Edinburgh called City Plan 2030.  

A new Development Plan Scheme setting out how we prepare a development plan and outlining the proposed timetable to take City Plan 2030 to the Proposed Plan stage has been approved by as part of an update report on City Plan 2030 to committee on 10 March 2021. 

The proposed plan was due to be considered by the Planning Committee this month, but due to the significant cyberattack on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency just before Christmas, the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment required to support the proposed plan was delayed.

It is now expected that the proposed plan will be published in August 2021.

The next stage of the plan process will be the ‘Period of Representations’ which will give a further opportunity for comments to be made on the plan.

How we engage with interested groups and members of the public will be determined by the coronavirus government guidance at the time. As well as a comprehensive digital plan, we will make every effort to engage with those who don’t have access to or prefer not to use digital channels. Further details on this will be published along with the Plan.

You can keep up to date with the City Plan Project by

  • subscribing to our blog
  • following us on twitter at @planningedin
  • joining in the conversation by using the #cityplan2030 hashtag.

Changes Coming Soon to Planning

As part of our efforts to improve our service and adapt for the future, there are two changes to the Planning Service coming soon:

Pre-Application Advice Service

At its meeting in February 2021, Planning Committee approved minor changes to our Pre-Application Advice Service.

It was recognised that the service is working well since it was introduced in 2019, but experience has highlighted the need for an additional option for a site visit for local developments. This will be available from 1 April 2021.

The Planning Committee also agreed a 5% increase in all Pre-Application Advice Service charges received on or after 1 April 2021, in line with the Council’s budget projections for 2021/2022.

Non-Material Variation Applications

At its meeting in February 2021, Planning Committee also agreed to additional discretionary charges for the processing of Non-Material Variation applications.

This will improve customer service and consistency across the service.

Details regarding procedures are being finalised in advance going live on 1 April 2021, but it is anticipated that Non-Material Variation applications will be required to be submitted using a standardised form, accompanied by the relevant drawings and the appropriate fee.  

This process will only apply to granted planning applications and will not be applicable to Listed Building Consents, Conservation Area Consents or Advert Consents.

Full details can be found in the Planning Committee report. Further communications regarding both of these matters will be published in advance of the changes commencing on 1 April 2021.

Edinburgh’s Water Vision

Climate change is going to impact on our lives in more ways than we can even imagine. In response to this, new developments and existing buildings in Edinburgh will have to change in order to support the needs of people. We will also need to consider how public realm, open space, infrastructure and streets are designed, agreed, constructed and maintained.

One of the ways we are preparing Edinburgh for these changes is through our Vision for Management of Water in the City of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh’s Water Vision is;

To develop a long-term and sustainable approach to river, coastal and storm water management across the city and its environs, respecting our unique historic heritage. This will involve all stakeholders and address the flooding and water quality risks associated with our changing climate as a result of changes in rainfall and sea level rise.

One key aim of the report is the need to manage the first 5mm of rainfall within every new development plot.

This is a big change for both planning and building standards, and will require building more raingardens, green roofs and other sustainable urban drainage features.

This will help more plants and wildlife to grow and create greener places for people to live, work and visit. It will also support healthier, happier and better off communities.

A greener city will make our neighbourhoods cooler, helping them become more resilient to heatwaves. This is important as our changing climate means extreme weather events like heatwaves are expected to increase.

Improving drainage

Much of Edinburgh has a historic combined sewer network. This means it carries both sewage and surface water to treatment works.

Our Vision for Management of Water will reduce the amount of clean surface water within the sewer network. This will help cut sewer flooding during heavy rainfall.

We also have a range of  Planning Flood guidance available to help. This will help people to design landscapes which, as well as holding back water to reduce flooding, will encourage plants and wildlife to grow.

As well as making these places nicer to spend time in, plants and wildlife will help to naturally clean rainwater before it reaches our rivers and streams.

This new way of working will enable the development of a city that is adaptive and resilient to climate change, that is also beautiful and biodiverse delivering a healthier, thriving and compact city with a higher quality of life for all residents.

The idea is to deliver transformational change in the way that water is valued and managed in the city.