Clean Air Day

Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK.  Poor air quality causes heart and lung disease and is linked to low birth weight and children’s lung development.

Thursday 17 June is Clean Air Day – the UK’s largest air pollution campaign that aims to bring people together to build awareness of the actions we can all do to tackle it.

Planning has an important role to play in this. Here in Edinburgh, we are setting out actions in strategies and plans to help tackle this, for example in our; 

The Clean Air Day campaign website has a wealth of ideas and ready-made materials to make it easy to get involved.

Customer Update – Help us to help you

We are continuing to experience a record level of applications since our last Customer Update a few weeks ago. Whilst this is positive for the City, it is a particularly challenging time for the service as it is coinciding with reduced resources.

To manage the workload effectively, a new system has been put in place where new applications are being put in a holding system until a case officer becomes available. This approach will ensure that workloads are manageable for case officers.

We will be dealing with applications in chronological order and once assigned, the case officer will only contact you if:

1) additional information is required to assess the application;

2) amendments are needed to your proposals; or

3) your application is likely to be refused.

We remain committed to providing good customer care for each application but inevitably, it is going to take longer than normal to process applications. Because we are concentrating on determining applications as quickly as possible, there will be an impact on other aspects of our work such as responding to queries.

Help us to help you:

It would help significantly if you could provide the following information at the time of application submission (or whilst it is hold):

  • Photographs showing the location of the work and the wider context (including interiors for listed building consent applications)
  • Dimensions on the plans
  • Contextual information i.e. neighbouring windows/ extensions (if relevant)
  • 45 degree daylighting calculations (if relevant)

Before applying please read our planning guidelines – these answer a lot of commonly asked questions, including for;

Your patience and understanding is appreciated. We will get there but it is going to take longer.

Changes to Permitted Development Rights from April 1st

Permitted development rights are types of works, usually less complex and minor proposals such as small alterations and extensions that can be carried out without the need to apply for planning permission. From April 1st,  new extended permitted development rights came into force which allow residents of both houses and flats to build structures and cycle stores within both their front and rear gardens.

Permitted development rights relating to bike stores, which are of particular relevance to active travel improvements within the city, allow a structure within the rear curtilage of a tenement for the specific use of storing bicycles. There is no limit on the dimensions of any bike store. However, only one such bike store can be erected, and these rights do not apply to listed buildings or sites within the boundary of the World Heritage Site. The resulting bike store cannot create an obstruction to light to another building.

Bike store criteria if you live in a tenement flat with a rear communal garden

Further changes to permitted development rights include the conversion of agricultural/forestry buildings into dwellings or flexible commercial developments, and expanded telecommunications development.

For more information on the updated criteria for incidental structures/bike stores, please see the Council’s quick guide to sheds and incidental buildings.

For a general overview of the wider changes to the new Permitted Development Order, please see the Scottish Government’s Transforming Planning website.

Customer Update – Applications

In the last few months we have been experiencing a record level of incoming applications – the highest for at least two years.  This is positive for the city and its residents and businesses, and we’re proud that in this period we’ve also been able to determine a record number of applications and keep average decision times down.  

As a service it is a particularly challenging time and we are looking at existing resources and new processes to help us manage this high level of caseload.

We remain committed to providing good customer care for each application but inevitably, it is going to take a bit longer than normal to process applications. Because we are concentrating on determining applications as quickly as possible, there will be an impact on other aspects of our work such as responding to queries.

Please be patient and understanding – we will get there but it is going to take a little longer.

If you have recently submitted or are about to submit an application, please pay particular attention to your acknowledgement letter at this time.

Help us to help you:

It would help significantly if you could provide the following information at the time of application submission:

  • Photographs showing the location of the work and the wider context (including interiors for listed building consent applications)
  • Dimensions on the plans
  • Contextual information i.e. neighbouring windows/ extensions (if relevant)
  • 45 degree daylighting calculations (if relevant)

Watch this space for further updates coming out of the recent Customer Forum sessions and thank you for your help as we support the city’s recovery.

You can keep up to date with Planning Edinburgh by:

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