You don't need a crystal ball to predict that the Scottish planning system is going to change. It was a clear manifesto commitment by the SNP. The previous Scottish Government had initiated a review of the planning system, and the independent panel is expected to report later this month.

But it is hard to predict the changes to come. Strategic development plans seem destined for change, but how radical will that be? Section 75 obligations and developer contributions are a key issue - could there be a Scottish version of the community infrastructure levy? There's been campaigning for a third party right of appeal - now being called equal right of appeal - has that gained any traction?

In the absence of an SNP majority, there is scope for changes to be influenced by the other parties. For example, the Greens' manifesto promoted protection of the Green Belt.

We know there will be a ministerial reshuffle, as the Environment Minister Aileen McLeod did not get re-elected, and plans have been announced to have a cabinet secretary in charge of the economy and another in charge of finance. Will Alex Neil still be responsible for the planning reforms?


Neil Collar