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

Help us to help you

The Planning service is as busy as ever with large number of planning applications and enforcement queries coming through the door. Key projects are continuing to progress including City Plan 2030 and the Low Emissions Zone. At the same time, we have a continuous programme of improvement to address changes such as the new planning fees and to ensure our processes are as efficient and robust as possible.

We are pleased that a number of new assistant planners have been recruited and they will be joining us over the next few months. We are also recruiting for a new planning officer.

Whilst there is much positive news, we do recognise that planning applications are taking longer to assess and determine than we would like, and we are not always meeting our statutory timescales. We know we need to do better. We are looking at a number of measures to address the backlog.

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

Photographs & relevant contextual plans

It would help significantly if you could provide the following information at the time of application submission or upload as additional information post 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)

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

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;