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Planning and Development Service
The Planning and Development Service provides a framework for how land is used throughout the Highland region. This includes a wide range of factors from home extensions to large renewables projects. These activities in the ‘built environment’ are known as 'development' and will likely require planning permission.
Decisions about planning applications are based on the 'development plan' which sets out the planning issues in a specific area. In Highland this takes the form of the recently adopted Highland-wide Local Development Plan and the three area Local Development Plans which will replace the existing Local Plans over the next few years.
Building standards are then the activity which sees a planning permission converted into buildings on the ground. There is a wide range of information and guidance available online to help people apply for planning permission and building warrants. Sustainability is a key principle of planning policies and a dedicated team covers matters specifically relating to sustainable development.
This policy work is backed up by in-depth research and the supply of information to the public and other agencies goes hand in hand with the production of plan documents. Statistical and geographic information services are provided across the Council as is the co-ordination of the Council’s lobbying efforts in respect of European affairs.
The protection, conservation and enjoyment of the built and natural environment is another significant aspect of the Planning and Development Service. This ranges from the protection given to historic buildings to archaeology, countryside rangers, and access provisions. The balance between protecting and exploiting the natural resources of the area is an important feature of this work. Consequently, the Service has specific expertise in the fields of fisheries, aquaculture,and forestry.
Further information on these services can be found under Planning and Development.