World Heritage Site – Draft Management Plan 2023

View of Old Town from the Crags looking North West with the Forth Bridges in the distance.

The Management Plan for the Old & New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site is being reviewed and we want to hear your views.

An updated Draft Management Plan is being prepared by the City of Edinburgh Council, Historic Environment Scotland and Edinburgh World Heritage. It identifies issues and opportunities within the site and presents an action plan for implementation over a five-year period.

The issues identified include:

  • care and maintenance of buildings and streets
  • control and guidance and contribution of new development
  • awareness of World Heritage Site status
  • visitor management
  • influence and sense of control

This is your opportunity to tell us what matters to you and to help us to best address these issues. We want to hear your thoughts on how the World Heritage Site has been looked after, what works well and what we could be doing better. 

We specifically want to know whether you feel we are doing enough to protect and enhance the Site, and any other ideas or suggestions which you may have. 

Complete the consultation online by 12 December 2022.

Short Term Lets: Drop-in session on proposed changes to our Guidance for Businesses

Row of Edinburgh tenements with some trees in the foreground.

We will be holding a drop-in session on proposed changes to our Guidance for Businesses and specifically the expanded section on short term lets.

  • When:  1.00pm – 4.30pm on Wednesday 9 November
  • Where: Planning and Building Standards front counter area at Waverley Court (4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG)

Members of the planning team will be on hand to explain the proposed, answer any questions and get your feedback.

In 2021, Scottish Government legislation allowed councils to have a short-term let control area. In a control area, this means if that if a flat or a house, which is not the home you live in, is used for a short-term let, you will need planning permission.

Edinburgh’s short-term let control area has now been in place since 5 September 2022.

Come along if you

  • live in an area where properties are let out for short breaks
  • offer flats or houses for holiday lets in Edinburgh
  • are an interested member of the public

Complete the online consultation here by 22 December 2022.

Proposed changes to Guidance for Businesses – Short Term Lets

View of Edinburgh tenements with trees in the foreground.

We want your views on the proposed changes to the Guidance for Businesses and specifically the expanded section on short term lets (STLs).

In 2021, Scottish Government legislation allowed councils to have a short-term let control area. In a control area, this means if that if a flat or a house, which is not the home you live in, is used for a short-term let, you will need planning permission.

Edinburgh was the first council in Scotland to apply for a short-term control area, which has now been in place since 5 September 2022 and covers the whole of the Council’s area.

The amount of STL accommodation has grown significantly in the last ten years and Edinburgh is recognised as an area that has greater pressures than other parts of the country.

The current Guidance for Businesses has a section on short-term commercial visitor accommodation and we are proposing changes which were presented to the Planning Committee on 31 August 2022.

Planning applications for STLs be assessed against the Local Development Plan along with the updated guidance and any other relevant material considerations.

Your responses will shape the final version of the guidance which we aim to have in place in early 2023. 

Complete the online consultation here by 22 December 2022.

“A Day in the Life…” by Jay Skinner – Planning Officer

Having joined the Planning Service just over two months ago as a Planning Officer I can vouch for the benefits of ‘learning on the job’ by working in a fast-paced service. The first few weeks have been an extremely interesting experience, and one which I am grateful to have the opportunity to reflect on as part of this blog post.

The variety in development proposals mirrored by the planning applications assigned as part of a diverse case load fills the days. A typical day can include arranging and hosting meetings, attending site meetings and visits, preparing reports as part of the planning assessment process, and working collaboratively with colleagues internally and engaging with external consultees to progress proposals. In my role there is an emphasis on taking ownership of your workload, which encourages continued professional development.

The nature of Edinburgh as a city both physically and geographically presents a unique working environment as a Planner. This is reflected by its wealth of historic assets such as world heritage sites, conservation areas, a high concentration of listed buildings as well as an impressive number of green spaces and multiple walking, cycling and sustainable transport links. These factors present a great opportunity as a Planner to work on a range of projects which bring their own unique considerations and opportunities.

Given the multitude of site constraints and specific considerations for proposals, working within the planning service allows for a high degree of collaboration with specialists, including engagement with external bodies such as Historic Environment Scotland on matters related to the historic environment for example. Working with colleagues who have expert knowledge of areas such as listed buildings, biodiversity, the natural environment, sustainability, active travel, transport planning and many other areas presents a platform to further develop your own knowledge.

Having the opportunity to continue to develop my skill set as a planner has been a positive experience since joining the Council’s Planning Service. By being able to contribute to the general mentoring scheme within the service it has helped to support colleagues as they progress their own careers.

The range of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions and opportunities on offer is another advantage of working within a multi skilled Planning Service. Specialist training workshops are a regular feature and help us to assess proposals and allow team members to further develop their skills and confidence.

The emerging City Plan 2030 also presents an opportunity to implement policies which will shape the future development of the city, building on the key aims of the current Edinburgh Local Development Plan. The focus within City Plan 2030 on promoting a network of 20-minute walkable neighbourhoods, the requirement for new buildings to be net-zero amongst other aims, promotes work on key planning issues, taking account of evolving changes within the built environment.

The above examples provide a snapshot of the numerous opportunities there are working within the Planning Service. As I continue in my role, I look forward to dealing with a variety of exciting projects which draw on my current skills and allow for future growth and development as part of a progressive Planning Service.

Edinburgh’s Proposed Low Emission Zone takes another step forward

Last week Edinburgh’s proposed Low Emission Zone (LEZ) took another step forward, as sign-off was given by the Council’s Transport & Environment Committee last Thursday for of the official objection period.

The LEZ aims 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.

LEZs 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. The LEZ will improve public health by discouraging the most polluting vehicles from entering an area.

Last year we ran a consultation between June & September 2021 which received over 5,000 responses.

Following the consultation, an objection period ran from 1 February to 1 March 2022. During this time we received 26 objections and 1 letter of support. Objections were from a mixture of individuals, businesses and organisations including some Community Councils.

The most common objections were about;

  • the LEZ boundary should be wider or smaller
  • the process for assessing local exemptions
  • the modelling/evidence base & how robust it was

The next step for the LEZ is to submit the proposal to Scottish Ministers for approval. Assuming approval is granted by Ministers, the LEZ will be introduced on 31 May 2022. There will be a two year ‘grace period’, meaning it won’t be enforced until June 2024.

There are various LEZ related support funds for businesses and households available for other sustainable transport options

The Proposed LEZ will align with the Councils;