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.

Changes to Edinburgh’s Planning Fees

Looking across Edinburgh on a sunny day. Edinburgh Castle is in the foreground with Princes Street Gardens, Princes Street and the New Town running left to right beyond.

Following the national fee changes in April 2022, there are two further important changes to planning fees specific to Edinburgh.

To reflect these changes, we have created a Planning Fees Charter which is now available on our website.

  • From 1 October 2022 retrospective planning applications will be subject to a 25% surcharge
  • Reduced fees: some fees for not for profit or social enterprises can now receive a 25% discount

Below is a summary of the changes:

Retrospective Applications

A retrospective application is an application for planning permission for a development which has already commenced or has been completed without planning permission.

Retrospective applications often result from Enforcement enquiries but can also be the result of other factors. A surcharge on retrospective applications is being introduced to provide a means of recovering some of the costs of carrying out enforcement investigations.

From 1 October 2022, Edinburgh Council will be imposing the maximum 25% surcharge allowed by the regulations.

As an example, an average householder application for a summerhouse in retrospect, would mean the normal application fee of £300 plus a further 25% (£75).

If you are submitting a retrospective application, it is important that you highlight this at the time of submission.

The surcharge will not be calculated when an application is submitted on e-planning.scot. This is because e-planning is a national service which does not consider individual charges by local authorities. This will mean that the extra fee will be requested when your application is registered. If the required surcharge is not paid, your application will not be progressed to determination.

Reduced Fees

Starting immediately, Edinburgh Council will reduce the fee by 25% for applications which relates to development which

  • has the primary purpose of contributing to a not for profit or social enterprise
  • relates to development which is likely to contribute to improving the health of residents in the area to which the application relates.

Applications must meet both the above criteria to be considered for an exemption.

The amount levied will depend on the type of application. For example, a £300 fee would be reduced to £225.

The full statutory fee should be paid when the application is submitted. The Council will make a decision on receipt of an application as to whether a 25% reduction is applicable and will refund the applicant accordingly.

Prospective applicants should make clear in their supporting information if they are seeking a reduction in the application fee.

Clear justification should be given for why the applicant believes that a reduction in the fee is applicable.

For full details, see our revised Planning Fees Charter.

Planning and Building Standards systems upgrade 8-12 August

An upgrade of Planning and Building Standards systems is planned for the period from Monday 8 August – Friday 12 August

The upgrade will result in a number of improvements including security fixes, enhanced accessibility, an online measuring tool, and will add Local Review Body information.

The process to upgrade our systems will have an impact on the delivery of the service and the Planning and Building Standards Portal, which includes the Building Standards Register, will be unavailable during this time. 

The weekly list of planning applications will not be issued on the week beginning Monday 8 August and you will be unable to view and comment on applications.

Relevant applications will have additional time added for comments to be made to take account of the downtime.

Arrangements are being put in place to ensure information will be available for the forthcoming Local Review Body and Development Management Sub Committees.  

During this time, you will be unable to view enforcement cases or the enforcement register.  Enforcement enquires can still be made using the online form.

Planning and building warrant applications can continue to be submitted online through eDevelopment.

You can keep up to date by following us on Twitter @planningedin or subscribing to the Planning Blog

Edinburgh excels at the RTPI Scotland Awards for Planning Excellence and the Scottish Transport Awards

Visualisation of George VI Bridge as part of the Edinburgh City Centre Transformation
Edinburgh City Centre Transformation

Two major Council projects that will transform Edinburgh for future generations have been recognized at the inaugural Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Scotland Awards for Planning Excellence.

An entry for Edinburgh’s City Centre Transformation, which will create a vibrant and people-focused capital city centre, won ‘Best Plan’ in Scotland. This was submitted by design consultants Jacobs.

Our other finalist, the Green Blue Network Project, which was entered by consultants Atkins, takes a holistic approach to sustainable water management and climate change adaptation. This will also go through to the UK/ Ireland National RTPI awards.

Both projects have involved significant partnership working with organisations like Sustrans, Scottish Water, SEPA, Paths for All, Scottish Wildlife Trust and NatureScot.

Meanwhile at the Scottish Transport Awards  multiple Edinburgh projects, as well as Edinburgh Trams and Lothian Buses, have just been shortlisted for awards;

  • Most effective in Road Safety, Traffic Management and Enforcement:
    • Edinburgh Trams – Permit+
  • Best Practice in Travel to School and Work Schemes:
    • Lothian Buses – Lothian Accessibility
  • Public Transport Operator of the Year:
    • Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams
  • Best Bus Service:
    • Lothian Buses – Vaccination Service
  • Excellence in Transport Accessibility:
    • Lothian Buses – Lothian Accessibility
  • Excellence in Walking, Public Realm & Cycling:
    • Cyclehoop Ltd – Edinburgh & Glasgow Bikehangar Scheme – Secure On-Street Residential Cycle Parking
  • Contribution to Sustainable Transport:
    • Lothian Buses – Contribution to Sustainable Transport
  • Most Innovative Transport Project of the Year:
    • The City of Edinburgh Council – City Mobility Plan
  • Excellence in Technology and Innovation:
    • Edinburgh Trams – Permit+
    • Lothian Buses – Lothian Operations Hub
  • Transport Team/ Partnership of the Year:
    • City of Edinburgh Council – 20 Minute Neighbourhood Programme Delivery Team
    • Lothian Buses and Police Scotland
  • Excellence in Travel Information & Marketing:
    • The City of Edinburgh Council – Edinburgh Travel Tracker
  • Frontline Employee of the Year:
    • Stuart Mearns, Assistant Engineering Manager at Edinburgh Trams

View the full list of nominations here (PDF).

Clean Air Day 2022: Air pollution dirties every organ in the body

On 16 June Clean Air Day will see schools, healthcare, workplaces and communities across Scotland running activities and taking action to inspire people to take simple steps to protect their health, their families’ health, and children’s health from air pollution.

In line with this year’s theme ‘air pollution dirties every organ in the body’, the Council will support action on air pollution through our work in schools and promoting public transport and active travel.

Primary schools across Edinburgh have been working with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and Glasgow Science Centre to produce inspiring banners, which will be placed outside schools to help people think about their actions and how they can reduce pollution to provide a better environment for everyone. So, keep an eye out around Wester Hailes, Stockbridge, Stenhouse, Leith, Craiglockhart, Corstorphine, Blackhall, Brunstane, and the City Centre!

Image of banner by Niamh, who is in P7 at Stenhouse Primary school produced a winning entry which helped us with the blog design!
Niamh, who is in P7 at Stenhouse Primary school produced a winning entry which helped us with the blog design!

The Council and Scottish Ministers have also confirmed a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) for the City Centre which will see harmful emissions from road traffic reduce by half in some locations. It will do this by restricting the most polluting vehicles from entering. The LEZ will also have a positive effect in air quality across other parts of the City too.

Enforcement of the LEZ won’t start until 1st June 2024, giving everybody time to adapt to the new rules. There is funding available to help households and businesses most affected.

You can find out more about the Low Emission Zone on the Council’s webpages here; http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/lez.

Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to our health, no matter who you are or where you live. It can harm every organ in your body and can shorten our lives, contribute towards chronic illness. When we breathe polluted air, it can inflame the lining of our lungs and move into our bloodstream ending up in the heart and brain, causing lung disease, heart disease, dementia and strokes.

But everybody can have a positive impact on air quality. Residents, businesses and visitors need to understand what they can do to reduce air pollution and limit its impact on their health and that of others.

Information on how to get involved is available on the Clean Air Day website: http://www.cleanairday.org.uk