Planning and Building Standards coronavirus update

Planning service

Most recent update 5 May 2021.

Planning and Building Standards help desk

Our helpdesk at Waverley Court is closed. We have a wide range of planning guidance available on our website. If you still require assistance you can email [email protected]

Pre-application advice service

As officers are working from home, meetings will be via Skype or Microsoft Teams, please email

[email protected]

with requests using our request form.

Site visits are only undertaken if considered essential for our understanding of the site context. It's important that you submit sufficient information to let make that assessment.

We cannot take phone payments. You can only pay by BACS.

Paper applications

As our offices are closed, we can’t process paper applications or accept payments by phone. You can however still apply for planning permission online.

 Apply for planning permission 

Applications processing

In the last few months we have been experiencing a record level of incoming applications - the highest for at least two years. 

As a service it is a particularly challenging time and we are looking at existing resources and new processes to help us manage this high level of caseload.

We remain committed to providing good customer care for each application but inevitably, it is going to take a bit longer than normal to process applications.

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

Help us to help you:

It would help significantly if you could provide the following information at the time of application 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)

Paragraph 9(2) of Schedule 6, Part 3 of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 (the Act) makes provision for us not to physically publish weekly lists of planning and related applications and make these available for inspection at our principal office and public libraries or physically post site notices for all planning and related applications on the basis that doing so:

  1. may give rise to a significant risk of the transmission of coronavirus, or
  2. is likely to be ineffective or inappropriate due to action taken in order to control the incidence or transmission of coronavirus.

We introduced ways for people to stay informed and comment on planning proposals despite the coronavirus lockdown.

We have

  • publicised applications that we received since the lockdown commenced in March. Site notices were published online between March and October 2020 and January and April 2021. Adverts are published in the press. 
  • issued neighbour notification letters by post, with the planning portal open for comments on applications.

The physical display of site notices recommenced on 8th April 2021.

The weekly list shows all

  • applications received
  • decisions made

Due to the closure of our offices we are still unable to receive any paper letters of representation or paper applications. Online representations and applications are being accepted / validated and, where appropriate, delegated decisions are being issued.

New applications will have neighbour notification carried out, and publicity in the form of site notices and adverts will be published in accordance with the amendments to the Act, as noted above. Once this period of publicity has ended applications will be progressed to determination where possible.

Since 18 June 2020, we have been undertaking site visits but only if these are essential. Most of these site visits will be external- from a public place or possibly private land such as a back garden. We will contact owners to discuss how to do this in the safest possible way.

Proposal of application notice (PAN)

The chief planner has provided planning guidance on pre-application consultations for public events. This is temporary guidance, linked to The Town and Country Planning (Miscellaneous Temporary Modifications) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020  that suspends the requirement for a physical public event.

Planning committee

Watch past and future commitee webcasts. For future dates, see the committee calendar.

Local Review Body

Following the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 coming into force, the regulations affecting planning have been amended. This includes the regulations governing the Local Review Body.

From 24 April, for a temporary period, the Local Review Body is no longer required to take place in public. The first post-covid Local Review Body took place over video conferencing on 27 May 2020 and can be viewed alongside future Local Review Bodies. For future dates and details, see the committee calendar.

We are still accepting online review submissions. We currently can't accept paper copies of

  • reviews
  • supporting documents
  • representations.

Scottish Government has not given any powers to extend the period for submission of appeals. If you intend to submit a review please ensure it is within time.

Find information about appeals submitted to Scottish Government.


Our major consultations on Choices for City Plan 2030 and the City Mobility Plan have now closed.

The key findings to the consultation on Choices for City Plan 2030 were reported to Planning Committee in August 2020 and work on the plan continues. Our comments on the consultation responses will be part of the full suite of supporting documents published alongside the Proposed Plan in the summer as the next key stage in the plan process.

The City Mobility Plan  was approved on 19 February 2021. Edinburgh is committed to being net zero carbon by 2030. This Plan puts the climate emergency at the centre of its actions and sets out Edinburgh’s route to achieving sustainable and effective mobility across the city and into the region.

Advice for businesses open during Covid-19

Advice and information to ensure businesses in Edinburgh comply with Scottish Government regulations and guidance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the advice to businesses during Covid-19 page. 

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 6 April and has implications for our Planning service and how we operate during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Subsequently, the Coronavirus (No.2 )(Scotland) Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 26 May 2020.

In February 2021 Scottish Parliament agreed to regulations that extended both the Scottish Coronavirus Acts to 30 September 2021. The Coronavirus (Scotland) Acts (Amendment of Expiry Dates) Regulations 2021 includes continuing the provisions which have extended the duration of planning permissions (including PPP), listed building consents and conservation area consents, enabled publication of planning documents online rather than at physical locations, and allowed committee meetings to happen without public attendance.

Directly linked to the required parliamentary approval of the above, the Town and Country Planning (Emergency Period and Extended Period) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 amends the expiry of the ‘emergency period’ to 30 September 2021 and the ‘extended period’ to 31 March 2022.

Duration of consents:

In terms of the duration of consents, the Acts and subsequent extensions mean the following applies:

  • Any planning permission or planning permission in principle, that would have expired during the ‘emergency period’ (7 April 2020 to 30 September 2021) will now be extended to the expiry date of 31 March 2022 (the ‘extended period’), unless work has already commenced on the development i.e. the consent has already been implemented.
  • Any listed building consent and conservation area consent that would have expired during the ‘emergency period’ (27 May 2020 to 30 September 2021) will now be extended to the expiry date of 31 March 2022 (the ‘extended period’), unless work has already commenced on the development i.e. the consent has already been implemented.

Scottish Parliament has clearly stated that there will be no further extension to the Coronavirus Acts and therefore the Coronavirus (Scotland) Acts 2020 will be repealed as of 30 September 2021 (with the extended period for duration of consents rolling forward to 31 March 2022).


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