Scotland’s finance secretary, John Swinney, this week unveiled measures designed to simplify Scotland’s planning system and aid sustainable economic growth.

Key changes unveiled include:

• a more proportionate approach by the government to notification and call-in of planning applications, recognising the important role of local authorities in planning decision-making;

• Electronic planning will be formally launched on-line by the Scottish Government in spring 2009, enabling applicants to apply on-line, speeding up the applications process;

• Local authorities will be required to produce development plans every five years to provide applicants with greater certainty as to which types of development are suitable.

Swinney said: ‘Scotland’s planning system should help, not hinder, all our efforts to increase sustainable economic growth, something which is especially important in the current climate. The Scottish Government’s six-point plan makes clear that all government activity, including work on planning and regulation, supports economic development.

‘By introducing reforms to the planning system, we are delivering on that commitment. Scotland’s businesses are the primary drivers of economic growth, both locally and nationally, and they rightly want to see a planning and development regime which is joined up, combining greater certainty and speed of decision making. That is why we are taking action now to cut red tape and deliver important changes to Scotland’s planning system.