Development Planning & Environment (DP&E)
Planning Services fulfils the statutory planning and building standards functions of the council. Development Planning & Environment is tasked with delivering the strategy and policy (most recently set out in the Scottish Government's National Planning Framework (NPF4).
The Development Planning & Environment team is the part of the service responsible for preparation (and monitoring) of the Local Development Plan and other supporting planning policy guidance (PG & SG), information and studies, which guide future development and the use of land within West Lothian and form the basis for making decisions on applications for planning permission.
If you have a general enquiry about planning policy please send it to email@example.com. If your enquiry relates to the adopted West Lothian Local Development Plan (LDP) (or the new LDP 2 which is now under preparation) please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. For enquires relating to planning applications please contact the Development Management team at email@example.com, and for matters specifically relating to tree protection and tree removal you should email DPTrees@westlothian.gov.uk. By selecting the correct email address you can help us better manage your enquiry, enabling it to be allocated to the most appropriate officer and facilitating a speedier response.
The Scottish Government is responsible for the development and implementation of the legislative framework of the planning system in Scotland, setting out the strategy for Scotland's future development and policies on key planning issues and promoting good practice across the planning system.
The planning system in Scotland is plan-led. Development Plans are at the heart of the planning system with a requirement set in law that planning decisions must be taken in line with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. They set out a long term vision and a framework for the future development of the area, addressing needs and opportunities in relation to housing, the economy, community facilities and infrastructure - as well as a basis for safeguarding and enhancing the natural and historic environment, mitigating and adapting to climate change. They identify the most appropriate locations for development to take place but they also identify and protect places where it should not.
The SDP was a statutory planning document and had been a component of the development plan. It communicated strategic level and cross-boundary planning policy and applied national policy and guidance from the Scottish Government. The SDP for Edinburgh and South East Scotland informed the Local Development Plans prepared by each of the Member Authorities in the Edinburgh and South East Scotland region which included West Lothian. The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 however removed the need for the preparation of Strategic Development Plans and the adoption and publication of National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) on 13 February 2023 was the trigger for all strategic development plans and any supplementary guidance issued in connection with them to cease to have effect.
A Local Development Plans (LDP) is prepared by the local planning authority, in this case West Lothian Council. It sets out a local interpretation of the requirements of national and strategic policy.
The LDP 1 Action Programme focuses on the specific infrastructure required to facilitate the implementation of LDP 1.
The Development Plan Scheme (DPS) is published (at least) annually and sets out the council's intended programme for preparing the next Local Development Plan (LDP).
The council has produced a suite of planning guidance documents which explain and expand upon the existing policies and proposals contained in the Adopted West Lothian Local Development Plan 2018 (LDP 1).
The Development Planning & Environment team is multi-functional and also prepares the annual Housing Land Audit (HLA), maintains the council's Register of Vacant and Derelict Land and manages the process of protecting trees and making Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs).
View information and documents relating to the preparation of the West Lothian Local Development Plan 2018 (LDP 1) and access a reference copy of the now superseded West Lothian Local Plan 2009 (WLLP) and related Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG).
You will find the most up to date information about LDP 2 on this page including details of ongoing consultations and the latest LDP Newsletter.
The council has begun the process of preparing a new Local Development Plan for West Lothian (LDP 2). This will in time replace the existing Local Development Plan which was adopted in 2018. The new plan will set out planning policies and proposals for the use and development of land within West Lothian for a ten-year period starting from when it is adopted, intended to be sometime in 2026. The process for preparing the new LDP is set out and explained on this page.
Local Place Plans (LPPs) are community led plans that were introduced by The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 to encourage communities to be more active participants in planning for their futures. LPPs enable communities to submit ideas and proposals for their area. If a LPP is submitted the council will place it on a register of LPPs and will take its content into account during the preparation of the next Local Development Plan (LDP 2).
You can view the Local Place Plans Register on this page
The self-build housing register allows the council to understand the demand for self and custom-build housing plots and to ensure that this is considered when developing planning policies and allocating sites through the Local Development Plan.