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Major Planning Application terms explained

This page should help you to understand the terms that are used when talking about ‘major’ planning applications submitted to the National Park Authority.

Glossary of Planning terms

Applicant: A person, business or organisation making a planning application. There is no requirement that they own the land affected by the application as long as they notify the owner.

Development: The carrying out of building, mining, engineering or other operations in, on, over or under the land or the making of any material change of use in the use of any buildings or land (as defined by the planning acts). Development so defined requires planning permission.

Planning application: An application to a planning authority seeking planning permission for development.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA): Certain developments require an EIA to be carried out to assess the development’s environmental effects as part of the planning process.  The assessment is reported in a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment and a more reader-friendly Non-Technical Summary which are submitted alongside the planning application.

Pre-Application Consultation (PAC): This is a statutory requirement for proposals relating to major developments. The aim of the PAC is for communities to be better informed about major development proposals and to have an opportunity to share their views with the prospective applicants before a formal planning application is submitted to the planning authority.

Pre-determination hearing: National applications or major applications significantly contrary to the Local Development Plan must go to a Pre-Determination Hearing if one is requested. This must take place before a committee of the Planning Authority and be determined by the Planning Authority. The hearing offers the chance for those who made representations to have the opportunity to be heard.

Proposal of Application Notice (PAN): This is a formal part of the PAC process where the prospective applicant sets out their plans for consultation with the local community and other stakeholders before submitting a formal planning application. There must be 12 weeks between serving the PAN and the submission of the planning application.

Screening and Scoping Opinions: If a proposed development is of a type that may require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be carried out, the Planning Authority is required to adopt a screening opinion to determine whether or not an EIA is necessary. Screening opinions can be produced when an application is received or carried out prior to an application being submitted if requested by the prospective applicant. If an EIA is required, the applicant can opt to request a subsequent Scoping Opinion to agree the scope of the environmental information and assessment that would need to be included in the EIA Report.

For further guidance on common planning terms in Scotland, please go to the Planning Aid for Scotland (PAS).

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