Strategic Development Plan (SDP)

The Strategic Development Plan (SDP) is a statutory planning document which is intended to cover a twenty year time period. It communicates strategic level and cross-boundary planning policy and applies national policy and guidance from the Scottish Government. The Strategic Development Plan for Edinburgh and South East Scotland was used to inform the Local Development Plans prepared by each of the Member Authorities in the Edinburgh and South East Scotland region which includes West Lothian.

Strategic Development Plan (SDP)

SESplan is the Strategic Development Planning Authority for the Edinburgh and South East Scotland region and comprises the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, West Lothian and the southern portion of the Fife council area.

SESplan was designated by Scottish Ministers on 25th June 2008. Its key role was to prepare and maintain an up to date Strategic Development Plan for Edinburgh and South East Scotland (SDP) for the area and it was approved by Scottish Ministers (with modifications) on 27 June 2013.

The modifications included a requirement that SESplan prepare housing land supplementary guidance to identify the individual housing requirements for Local Development Plan areas. This Housing Land Supplementary Guidance was approved by Scottish Ministers and it was formally adopted as part of the development plan by all SESplan authorities on 28 October 2014.

Information about the Scottish Ministers decision is available on the planning pages of the Scottish Government website.

Strategic Development Plan (SDP2) (Not progressed)

In October 2016 SESplan published a Second proposed Strategic Development Plan (SDP2) for consultation which was subsequently submitted to Scottish Ministers for examination on 26 June 2017.

On 20 July 2018 the Scottish Government Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) completed the examination and submitted a report to Scottish Ministers. The Report can be downloaded from the DPEA website.   

On 16 May 2019 SESplan was advised that the Proposed Strategic Development Plan (SDP2) had been rejected by the Scottish Ministers under Section 13 (1) of the Planning Act. The SDP2 decision letter from Scottish Ministers advised that the Plan had failed to satisfy Ministers that it had been informed by an adequate and timely Transport Appraisal and had not taken sufficient account of the relationship between land use and transport. It further advised that the use of supplementary guidance as a mechanism to resolve this issue had been considered but had not been supported my Ministers. This can be downloaded from the Scottish Government website.

The SESplan Authorities considered this decision and two documents setting out their position are provided for information.


It should be noted that the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 has since removed the requirement for the preparation of Strategic Development Plans and it is the Scottish Government's intention that strategic planning matters will instead be set out in a new National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) which was laid before the Scottish Parliament on 10 November 2021.

SESplan does however remain a legal entity until NPF4 is adopted (anticpated some time in 2022) and the provisions of the Planning etc (Scotland) Act 2006 insofar as they relate to strategic development planning will remain in force for the time being.


Regional Spatial Strategy for Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 removed the requirement to prepare SDPs and now requires the preparation and adoption of Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS). These are non-statutory documents which provide a spatial representation of the key regional land use issues requiring to be addressed across a region. 

Although non-statutory in nature (they do not form part of the development plan and will not have a status in planning decisions) their purpose is to guide the development of the two parts of the Development Plan set out in the 2019 Act, namely the National Planning Framework and Local Development Plans. 

West Lothian Council has worked collaboratively with other SESplan local authorities to prepare an Interim Regional Spatial Strategy for Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region and this was considered by the SESplan Joint Committee on 21 September 2020.  Following ratification of the Joint Committee's decision by each of the SESplan member authorities, the Interim Regional Spatial Strategy was submitted to Scottish Government for consideration.


If you have any questions relating to Development Planning issues or just want to provide feedback and comments on our service, please email the Development Planning & Environment team at You can also write to us at Development Planning & Environment, West Lothian Civic Centre, Howden South Road, Livingston, West Lothian EH54 6FF or phone 01506 280000.


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