Edinburgh’s Proposed Designation of a Short-Term Let Control Area Consultation

This week sees the opening of the consultation on a Short-Term Let Control Area for Edinburgh.

Legislation introduced in April 2021 allows a local authority, subject to the approval of Scottish Government, to designate all or part of their area as a short-term let control area. 

A control area is a legal designation.  In a control area a property owner who is letting out a residential property (which is not their principal home) on a short-term let basis would have to apply for ‘change of use’ approval through the planning application process.

Short-term lets of private rooms or shared rooms where the property is the only or principal home of the host will not be affected by the control area requirement. This allows for house swaps at holidays and also for the host to let out the entire property when they are on holiday or working away, provided the property remains their only or principal home.

It is proposed that the entire Council area is designated as a Short-Term Let Control Area.  

There are a significant number of short-term lets in Edinburgh.  In the period 2016-2019 there was a substantial rise in the number of both entire properties and rooms registered with Airbnb.  In 2019, 31% of all Airbnb listings in Scotland were in the city of Edinburgh.  

Short-term lets can provide additional accommodation during important times of the year however there are many associated impacts which have been identified nationally, including the supply and affordability of housing and disruption to local communities and to neighbours. 

In the absence of a Control Area use of a dwelling for short-term let only requires planning permission if on assessment of the material circumstances it is considered a change of use has occurred.  Therefore, currently the use of many dwellings as short-term lets falls out with planning control.

A control area for Edinburgh, that establishes the need for planning permission for short-terms lets, would help manage high concentrations of short-term letting, control short-term letting in types of buildings where it is not appropriate and help ensure homes are used to best effect. 

Details of the proposed designation are available on our Planning Web page.   

Why we are consulting

Responses will be used to inform the decision on taking forward a Short-Term Let Control Area for formal designation. 

The consultation period is open for 9 weeks, from the 3rd September 2021 until 5th November 2021.

We would welcome views via our consultation hub

To keep up to date with the Short-Term Lets Control Area;

City Plan 2030 Update

We are preparing a new local development plan for Edinburgh called City Plan 2030.

In line with our Development Plan Scheme, the Proposed City Plan 2030 will be reported to Planning Committee on 29 September for elected members to decide on officer recommendations for the strategy, proposals and polices for future development in the City of Edinburgh Council area.

If approved the Proposed Plan will then go on to its next statutory stage and be published to allow representations to be made. Details of the representation period and the engagement programme for it will be published with the Committee papers in advance of the meeting.  

You can find more information on the project, including the ‘Choices for City Plan’ public consultation, at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/cityplan2030.

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.

Edinburgh’s Proposed Low Emission Zone Consultation

Last week we opened a consultation on Edinburgh’s Proposed Low Emission Zone.

Low Emission Zones (LEZs) aim to reduce air pollution, since it presents a significant threat to public health. It is especially harmful to young children, the elderly and those suffering from pre-existing conditions, including heart and lung diseases.

We last updated you on the proposed LEZ on the Planning Edinburgh Blog back in December 2020.

They are being introduced across Scotland’s four largest cities: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee in response to dangerous levels of air pollution generated by road traffic.

LEZs improve public health by discouraging the most polluting vehicles from entering an area. Benefits of this Zone will extend beyond the city centre by improving air quality, encouraging more sustainable travel and supporting the reduction of greenhouse gases across the city.

You can use the national vehicle checker to see if your vehicle is likely to meet the minimum emission standards.

The LEZ is planned to start the LEZ on 31st May 2022, however enforcement would not begin until 1st June 2024 – a ‘grace period’ of 2 years, which aims to help individuals and organisations to get ready.

Some exemptions will apply to the LEZ rules for example, disabled persons (including blue badge holders), historic vehicles and emergency vehicles as well as others outlined in the ‘Proposal to Make a LEZ’ consultation document.

The Council also has the powers to consider local ‘time-limited’ exemptions in exemptional and unique circumstances.

All details of the proposed LEZ are outlined in full in the ‘Proposal to Make a LEZ’ consultation document. This contains the following information:

  • Edinburgh’s LEZ Objectives and why we think the LEZ is required and appropriate
  • The proposed LEZ start date, operation times and grace period
  • The scope of vehicle types that will be included in the LEZ
  • Exemptions
  • Penalties
  • Map and a list of roads included in the LEZ

The Proposed LEZ will align with the Councils;

Why we are consulting

We are seeking views on the following proposed aspects of the Edinburgh LEZ:

  • city centre zone boundary
  • 2 -year grace period
  • local exemptions and considerations for impacted groups

We are also seeking to understand knowledge of LEZs and LEZ related support funds and those available for other sustainable transport options. The consultation period is running for 12 weeks, from the 28th June 2021 and closing on 20th September 2021.

Responses, comments or feedback can also be emailed to: low.emission.zone@edinburgh.gov.uk,

or posted to: Low Emission Zone, Waverley Court G3, East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG

Depending on the volume of feedback received, it is hoped that a final LEZ scheme can be formally published towards the end of 2021 and agreed by the Council and Scottish Ministers early in 2022 before it is implemented in May 2022.

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.