SEPA is identified as a key agency under the Planning etc (Scotland) Act 2006 and is proactively assisting delivery of the Scottish Government's commitment to provide a more effective and efficient planning system. We provide formal environmental advice in relation to development plans and on wide range of development proposals across Scotland.

Whether you are a planning authority, a developer, a consultant, a member of the public, or any other party with an interest in SEPA’s role in the planning system, this section of our website will provide you with all our planning guidance notes, map based information and advice on different development types and topics

We enable good development and protect Scotland’s environment through the planning system by focusing on the consultations where we can add most value. Engagement with planning authorities from the outset ensures we can support development plan proposals and aid the implementation of a genuinely plan-led land use planning system. We also welcome early engagement on larger developments to help you identify opportunities, constraints and solutions.

We are working to expand this area of our website and will update it as more guidance and advice becomes available. If you are unable to find the advice you need then please contact your local SEPA planning team pdf link (61k).

How and when to consult SEPA

We have a number of guidance notes which give detailed information on how to consult us and what types of development to consult us on:

Planning authorities and planning applicants: How and when to consult SEPA pdf link (74k)
Letter to all planning authorities August 2012 pdf link (62k)
Planning authorities: Checklist for planning authorities to use when consulting us on planning applications word link image (64k)

Transport Scotland: Transport Scotland Briefing Note: Consultation with SEPA pdf link (70k)

SNH: Joint Land Use Planning Working Arrangements for SEPA and SNH pdf link (144k)
Forestry Commission Scotland and Forest Managers: How and when to consult SEPA and standing advice for forestry pdf link (95k)

Standing advice

We focus our bespoke advice on environmentally sensitive developments where we can add most value. For other small-scale local developments please refer to the below standing advice notes: 

Small scale local planning applications: Standing advice for planning authorities and developers on development management consultations pdf link (152k)
Extractive waste management plans: Standing advice for Planning Authorities on Extractive Waste Management Plan consultations submitted under the Management of Extractive Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2010 pdf link (74k)

Marine Licence consultations: SEPA standing advice for Marine Scotland on marine licence consultations  pdf link (90k) 

Smaller scale forestry consultations: How and when to consult SEPA and standing advice for forestry pdf link (78k)
SEA Scoping: Standing Advice for Responsible Authorities on SEA Scoping pdf link ( 283k)

Issues we comment on

We have a programme of role resolution with other key agencies in relation to which issues we comment on. At present we engage on the following areas:

Protection of people, property and infrastructure from flood risk
Promotion of sustainable waste management
Protection of the water environment (both surface water and ground water)
Risks to the environment or human health arising from development on or near radioactively contaminated land and on or near a designated Part IIA Special Site
Protection of the marine environment
Good air quality
Noise and odour in relation to processes regulated by SEPA (protection of residential amenity, sensitive receptors)
Potential consentability under SEPA’s regulatory regimes

Specific planning advice

 Advice by development type  Advice by topic
Standing advice for development management consultations Flood risk
Development Plans Engineering in the water environment
Strategic environmental assessment Ecological interests
Map Based Information Groundwater
Housing Marine environment
Mixed use schemes Pollution prevention and environmental management 
Transport and infrastructure Waste water drainage
Waste facilities Surface water drainage
Energy Sustainable waste management
Mining and quarrying Consentability under SEPA regulatory regimes
Cemeteries Air quality
Fish farming Noise and odour
Business, industry, storage and distribution Contaminated land

Planning and climate change

Planning guidance notes

We have a number of guidance notes in relation to our role and responsibilities in the planning process. We are making as many of the guidance documents below available online as quickly as possible. Those coloured blue are links and available online now. In an effort to be open and transparent about our role in the planning process, we have made a number of our internal procedural guidance notes available. We have also produced a directory, in partnership with other Agencies, on sources of information we hold that will help embed climate change issues into planning decisions. 

Document Size
pdf link How and when to consult SEPA 75k
word link image Checklist for planning authorities when consulting SEPA 64K
pdf link Standing advice for planning authorities and developers on development management consultations 152k
pdf link Standing advice for Planning Authorities on Extractive Waste Management Plan consultations submitted under the Management of Extractive Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2010 74k
pdf link Development planning guidance 305k
pdf link Development management guidance 95k
pdf link Planning, Energy and Climate Change Position Statement 42k
pdf link Planning and Climate Change Directory: Key Agency and Scottish Government Resources and Guidance 358k
pdf link Flood risk position statement 69k

Flood risk guidance [to follow shortly]

pdf link Position statement on Planning and Soils 185k
pdf link Wastewater drainage position statement 90k
pdf link Planning advice on waste water drainage 159k
pdf link Surface water drainage guidance 64k
pdf link Guidance on input to development management consultations in relation to Zero Waste Plan issues 98k
pdf link Planning guidance on land subject to contamination issues 45k
pdf link Planning guidance in relation to SEPA-regulated sites and processes 194k
pdf link Planning guidance on windfarm developments 488k
pdf link Planning guidance on groundwater abstractions and Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems (GWDTEs) 874k
pdf link Marine development and marine aquaculture planning guidance   512k
pdf link Guidance on the Water Framework Directive including river basin planning 573k
pdf link Planning guidance on hydropower developments 213k
pdf link SEPA standing advice for Marine Scotland on marine licence consultations 90k
pdf link   How and when to consult SEPA and standing advice for forestry  95k
pdf link Use of trees cleared to facilitate development on afforested land

Video: Joint guidance on use of trees cleared to facilitate development on afforested land external link
pdf link     Development plan guidance on flood risk 260k
pdf link     Developement plan guidance on the water environment 234k
pdf link     Development plan guidance on sustainable resource use  457k
pdf link      Development plan guidance on air quality and co-location 233k
pdf link      Development plan guidance on soils 240k