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Progress on project to automate collection of planning data
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A major project by the Improvement Service (IS) to automate the collection and publication of planning and building standards data from Scottish local authorities and national parks has progressed to the deployment phase, with the first local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, now providing updates of its data along with Loch Lomond and Trossachs and Cairngorms National Parks.

The data is collected and published once a week and builds on the work which has been taking place at the Improvement Service over the last 18 months to automate the process of receiving local property and street gazetteer information from local authorities.

Whilst planning and building standards data has been available on individual local authority and national park websites for some time, there is currently no overall national view of the data and no standards on how the data should be collected and published.

The project to automate the collection and publication of data is part of a wider work by the IS Data & Intelligence (D&I) team to create national layers of local authority location-based data via its Spatial Hub platform. The Spatial Hub provides a single point of access to quality-assured Scottish local authority data in a consistent and usable format.

As part of the initiative, the team has been working with idox plc and local authorities to develop an automated technical solution for the collection of this data, and to amalgamate it into a national layer which will be made available, in the first instance, to organisations across the public sector. This include national bodies, statutory consultees (such as SEPA, FLS, NatureScot) and Scottish Government.

Our progress on this project pre-empts the recommendations in Transforming Places Together: Scotland’s digital strategy for planning, published by the Scottish Government in 2020, which set out five-year goals to unlock the value of planning data, use digital tools to drive collaboration and engagement and deliver an end-to-end digital planning experience.