Scotland’s planning system cannot be fixed by fees alone, warns RTPI Scotland

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Scotland has released its response to the Investing in Planning consultation, noting the consultation’s reliance on planning fees, which the Institute states will not be a silver bullet to fixing the planning system.

RTPI writes:

The Institute’s response, which draws on feedback from RTPI Scotland members, suggests that fee increases alone cannot solve the problems in the planning system, especially if the additional funds are not specifically designated for planning. Research from the RTPI found that planning fees in Scotland only cover 66% of processing costs. The Institute expressed disappointment that the consultation did not cover plan making or enforcement, both of which suffer from underinvestment and offer opportunities for improvement.

Caroline Brown, Director of RTPI Scotland, said, ‘The Scottish Government’s proposals for investing in planning underpin the urgency of addressing Scotland’s chronic underfunding of its planning services. If we are to build the towns, houses, and infrastructure Scotland’s communities need, we will need to work quickly to address this issue. However, these proposals rely too heavily on meeting these needs with fees alone, avoiding suggesting of ring-fencing fees or proposing to ensure that any additional fee income is invested or reinvested in planning services. Some members noted that, historically, fee increases have failed to bring about meaningful change, and increasing fees without ringfencing may lead to the same result.’

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