How to introduce mediation to the Scottish planning system is the subject of a new Scottish Government consultation.

Ministers have published draft guidance to planning authorities, developers, communities and other potential parties on the use of mediation in development planning and in pre-application consultation.

It follows the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, which requires ministers to prepare and issue guidance on the promotion and use of mediation in the Scottish planning system, by July 2021. The Act also provides for steps to reduce conflict, improve community engagement and build public trust in planning matters.

Under the Act, mediation can include any means of exploring, resolving or reducing disagreement by bringing in an impartial person. The contexts in which t could be used include: 

  • the preparation of local development plans and related evidence reports;
  • pre-application consultation;
  • assisting in the determination of an application for planning permission; and
  • any other matter related to planning that ministers consider appropriate.

Guidance may include the form of mediation to be used in a particular circumstance, and the procedure to be followed. Local authorities must have regard to the guidance. 


The Scottish Government has already consulted on amendments to pre-application consultation arrangements and will consult soon in early 2021 on secondary legislation for the development of local place plans.

Click here to access the consultation. The deadline for responses is 12 March 2021.