Useful links for planning

Organisations and agencies

Heads of Planning Scotland (HOPS)

HOPS is the representative organisation for senior planning officers from Scotland’s local authorities, national park authorities and strategic development planning authorities.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)

SNH is responsible for the conservation and enhancement of natural heritage - the wildlife, the habitats and the landscapes.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

Historic Environment Scotland safeguards the historic environment and promotes its understanding and enjoyment.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

SEPA is Scotland’s environmental regulator and adviser. In addition to its role in controlling pollution, it works with others to protect and improve our environment.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

HSE protects people’s health and safety by ensuring that risks in the workplace are properly controlled and controls substances that are hazardous to health.

Scottish Water

Scottish Water provides water and waste water services throughout Scotland.

Transport Scotland

Transport Scotland is responsible for delivering the Scottish Government’s transport capital investment programme and overseeing the safe and efficient operation of trunk roads and rail networks.

Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS)

As a strategic body representing Scotland's 32 local authorities and seven Regional Transport Partnerships, SCOTS has a pivotal role to play in the design, delivery and maintenance of the nation's various transport systems.

Regional Transport Partnerships

The role of RTPs is to strengthen the planning and delivery of regional transport developments.

Scottish Local Authorities Economic Development Group (SLAED)

SLAED is a network of senior officials from economic development teams across all 32 Scottish local authorities.

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland's national economic development agency.

Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS)

A+DS is a non-departmental public body, which acts as a national champion for good architecture, design and planning in the built environment.

Scottish Cities Alliance

The Scottish Cities Alliance is a partnership of Scotland's seven cities and the Scottish Government, the purpose of which is to attract investment and jobs into cities.

Planning Aid for Scotland (PAS)

PAS is a voluntary organisation which offers an independent, free and professional advice service on planning applications and the planning process. It also runs training and education programmes designed to raise awareness and capacity on planning matters with elected members, community groups, seldom heard groups, children and young people.

Homes for Scotland

Homes for Scotland is the representative body of the house building industry in Scotland.

Scottish Property Federation (SPF)

SPF is the trade association for Scottish commercial and residential property companies.

Keep Scotland Beautiful

Keep Scotland Beautiful are the charity that campaigns, acts and educates on a range of local, national and global issues to change behaviour and improve the quality of people’s lives and the places they care for.

Paths for All Partnership

Paths for All is a partnership of organisations committed to promoting walking for health and the development of multi-use path networks in Scotland.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

The RSPB is the UK charity working to secure a healthy environment for birds and all wildlife.

Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth Scotland is the leading organisation in Scotland that is working for environmental justice and campaigning for the planet and its people.

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland

The AHSS is a Scottish charity dedicated to the protection, preservation, study and appreciation of Scotland’s historic buildings.

Scottish Civic Trust

The Scottish Civic Trust is the national body for the civic movement in Scotland.

NHS Health Scotland

NHS Health Scotland is a national Health Board working to reduce health inequalities and improve health.

Highland and Islands Enterprise

HIE has unique remit from the Scottish Government that integrates economic and community development

Public Health Reform

Public Health Scotland will be established in April 2020

Scottish Alliance for People and Places

The Scottish Alliance for People and Places brings together a wide range of organisations from across the planning and placemaking sector in Scotland to articulate a united and compelling vision for a more inclusive, respected, holistic and innovative system of planning.

Scotland's Towns Partnership

Scotland's Towns Partnership is Scotland’s largest towns’ collective; representing and promoting the diversity of our towns and places, and supporting those organisations and groups that have an interest in or ownership of them.

Scottish Community Development Centre

The Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) supports best practice in community development and is recognised by the Scottish Government as the national lead body for community development.

Scottish Council for Development and Industry

The Scottish Council for Development & Industry (SCDI) is an independent and inclusive economic development network.

Professional bodies

The Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland (RTPI)

The RTPI is the professional body for town planners.

The Landscape Institute (LI)

LI is the chartered body for the landscape profession. It is an educational charity that promotes the art and science of landscape practice.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

RICS are the professional body for qualifications and standards in land, property, infrastructure and construction.

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)

RIAS is the professional body for all chartered architects in Scotland.

Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)

ICE is the institution for Civil Engineering

Collaborative programmes

Regional Transport Partnerships

Regional Transport Partnerships bring together local authorities, elected members and other key regional stakeholders to take a strategic approach to the planning and delivery of regional transport so that it better serves the needs of people and businesses.

City Region Deals

City Region Deals offer the potential for new collaborative regional partnerships, focused on long-term strategic approaches to improving regional economies.


Place Standard

The Place Standard tool provides a simple framework to structure conversations about place.

Town Centre Toolkit

The Town Centre Toolkit contains ideas and examples of how people and organisations can make their town centre more attractive, more active, and more accessible.

Understanding Scottish Places

Understanding Scottish Places offers a mechanism for understanding the similarity of places across Scotland. Deliberately designed to avoid a simplistic ranking of places as better or worse, USP focuses on the shared characteristics of towns.

The National Standards for Community Engagement

The National Standards for Community Engagement are good-practice principles designed to support and inform the process of community engagement, and improve what happens as a result.

Trevor Moffat - Project Officer, Planning Skills
Susan Rintoul - Planning Project Officer