We work with all Local Authorities, National Park Authorities and Strategic Development Planning Authorities in the preparation of their Development Plans.

Key Agency Status

The document Planning Circular 6/2013: Development Planning states that Transport Scotland is to be treated as a Key Agency as defined in the Planning act (Scotland) Act 2006. This means we have a duty to co-operate with planning authorities as they prepare their development plans.  We are also part of the Key Agencies Planning Group, where we work with other Agencies and Scottish Government colleagues to support the delivery of a cultural change in land use planning through improved joint working.


We pro-actively encourage early discussions with all planning authorities during the initial stages and throughout the preparation of their plans. We can provide advice on:

  • how best to consider land use options and potential implications for the strategic road and rail network
  • draft policies, strategies and other development plan related documents
  • Transport Appraisal and cumulative transport modelling
  • Scottish Government transport infrastructure projects and policy

When responding on Development Plan correspondence, we consider a number of issues relating to the strategic network and consult the following documents:

Transport Appraisal

One of our main areas of focus relates to a Development Plan’s options for spatial strategy.  We need to understand any potential impact to the performance and safety of the strategic infrastructure network, including trunk roads and the rail network as early as possible in the process to enable the creation of robust evidence based and deliverable Plans.

Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) within paragraph 274 outlines the need for planning authorities to identify and assess the likely impacts of their development plan strategy in line with Development Planning and Management Transport Appraisal Guidance (DPMTAG). Potential impacts can be determined through undertaking an appraisal which is found in the DPMTAG document.  We would be keen to discuss what, if any, proportionate appraisal/assessments may be required and can offer advice on the level of detail required.   Undertaking an assessment of the options for a Development Plan’s spatial strategy is important in determining the scale of potential impact, and understanding the mitigation measures which may be required.   As they are important - you should also discuss with us how mitigation measures are going to be funded and delivered as soon as possible as well. 

Development Planning and Management Transport Appraisal Guidance (DPMTAG)

Transport Scotland’s Service Improvement Plan for Planning Reform, published in 2009, sets out details of Transport Scotland’s commitments to ensure it delivers on the Scottish Government’s planning reform.  One of these commitments is to publish streamlined transport and land use appraisal guidance and to test the practicality of this guidance with COSLA and other key stakeholders. 

The guidance has evolved through discussions with planners and transport planners.  It does not introduce new guidance or analysis, but instead clarifies how transport appraisal can be aligned with the planning process.  The guidance forms the basis of Transport Scotland’s ongoing engagement on the planning process. 

The developing guidance was subject to peer review by a wide range of key stakeholders over a 12 week period between 23 August 2010 and 15 November 2010.  The analysis of responses received from peer reviewers is described in the Development Planning and Management Transport Appraisal Guidance (DPMTAG) Peer Review Analysis Report.

Any enquires about DPMTAG can be directed to:

Stephen Cragg
Head of Appraisal and Model Development
Email: scot-tag_mailbox@gov.scot