What Needs Planning Permission

All development requires planning permission. However, certain forms of development may be carried out as 'permitted development'.

Provided the development meets criteria set out in legislation, it does not require a specific grant of planning permission. Generally this is because the scale and nature of the development is considered to be less significant and will have little impact on the surrounding area.

The types of development that can be considered as 'permitted development', and the qualifying criteria, are set out in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992, usually referred to as the GPDO. This however is not, and should not be relied on as a definitive version.

Also see:


Guidance on Non – Domestic Permitted Development Rights

Guidance on Householder Permitted Development Rights 

There are providers of fully consolidated, annotated legislation that can be accessed online but these are generally subscription based.

For the Council to tell you whether the use of buildings or other land would be lawful or whether any proposed works would be lawful i.e. whether it is ‘permitted development’, you may apply for a certificate of lawfulness of proposed use or development. Whether an existing use or development is lawful can be confirmed by making an application for a certificate of lawfulness of existing use or development to the Council via the ePlanning portal.

ePlanning portal

Whilst the office is closed and we are working from home, we will not be able to provide a duty officer service at 8 North Ness.

You can contact Development Management regarding general planning application matters by emailing development.management@shetland.gov.uk.

Please note that further information on planning and building standards matters is also available elsewhere on this website and at the Scottish Government website.