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Types of Applications

Once you have established which type of application you need to apply for you can apply online via the Scottish Government's - Eplanning website in the 'Related Sites' section of this page.

Alternatively you can also download copies of the forms from the E-planning website.  Fee information is available from the Council Charges page available from the 'Related Links' section of this page.

Once on the home page of the ePlanning Scotland website click on the tab “Download Forms” at the bottom right of the page. On that page select Orkney from the “Application Forms and Guidance Notes Dropdown”, this will then give a list of all forms and guidance notes. Select the one(s) you want and download saving to your hard disk, drive or portable storage device.

Full Planning Permission

This type of application allows you to submit full details of the proposal in one stage. The plans require to be sufficient to show full details of the development clearly and accurately.

Change of use is required when you wish to change the use of a house or building from its existing use.

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Planning Permission in Principle

The purpose of such an application is to establish whether the principle of developing a piece of land is acceptable without preparing detailed plans.

Planning permission in principle alone does not give you a right to go ahead with the proposal, conditions will be attached setting out what further details require to be approved by way of a further application before work can start - applications for the approval of matters specified in conditions.

If the proposal is sensitive it is possible that we will ask for detailed plans before reaching a decision.

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Applications for the Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions

This type of application is for the submission of details required by conditions imposed on the granting of planning permission in principle.

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Renewal of Temporary Permission

This type of application would be required if you wished to extend the period of a previous permission which was only granted for a limited time before it expires.

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Modification, Variation or Removal of Planning Conditions

Many planning consents have conditions attached to them. If you are unable or unwilling to comply with such a condition, you may apply for its removal, variation or modification. Detail of the reasons or justification for the condition to be removed, altered or varied should form part of the application.

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Householder Application (alterations and extensions to houses)

Not all developments to your house require planning permission. However, the rules for when planning permission is required are complicated and therefore it is recommended that you contact the planning department with details of your proposal for them to advise on whether planning permission is needed.

The householder planning application forms should be used for submitting an application to extend or alter your house, construct a domestic garage, greenhouses, decking, certain satellite dishes and fences or walls.

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Prior Notifications (agricultural buildings, demolitions and renewables)

Under planning legislation, certain developments are considered permitted development. However, for certain developments you are required to notify the Council regarding the proposals in order to determine whether prior approval is required.

Agricultural Buildings

Any new agricultural buildings or alterations to agricultural buildings falling outwith the following criteria require the farmer or developer to notify the Planning Authority of a proposal before undertaking the works. This should be done by submitting the prior notification and prior approval form with plans of the location, site and proposed works.

Developments which require planning permission include:

  • Development on agricultural land less than 0.4 hectare (1acre) in area.
  • Buildings over 465sq m in extent.
  • Buildings over 12 metres in height; and those over 3 metres high within 3km of the perimeter of an aerodrome.
  • Buildings within 25 metres of a trunk, or classified road.
  • Intensive livestock units and slurry stores within 400 metres of any 'protected building' - a building normally occupied by people, but excluding farm houses.
  • Buildings, structures or erection used or to be used for housing pigs, poultry, rabbits or animals bred for their skin or fur.


Although most buildings do not require planning permission for demolition, before demolishing any building you should contact the Council to check whether our prior approval will be required. A Prior Notification Procedure is required if you need to demolish:

  • A dwelling house.
  • A building containing one or more flatted dwellings.
  • A building having a mutual wall with, or having a main wall adjoining the main wall of a dwelling house or a building containing one or more flatted dwellings.

Domestic Turbines and Air Source Heat Pumps

Certain types of domestic wind turbines and domestic air-source heat pumps are classed as permitted development and in certain cases e.g. within 100m from the boundary of a neighbouring residential property planning permission is required. In the following instances where planning permission is not required there is still a need to apply to the Council for a prior notification:-

  • If you wish to install a domestic micro-wind turbine of 50 kW generating capacity or less within the boundary of a residential property, where the wind turbine would be located at least 100m from the boundary of a neighbouring residential property or
  • your proposal is to install a domestic air-source heat pump with a generating capacity of 45 kW (thermal) or less within the boundary of a residential property, where the heat pump would be located at least 100m from the boundary of a neighbouring residential property

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Listed Building Consent

Listed building consent is required for any works, internal and/or external, extension, alteration or involving the demolition of a listed building. A listed building includes any object or structure that has been within the curtilage of the listed building since before 1st July 1948.

To establish if your property is listed you can either contact Development Management on 01856 873535 ext 2504 or email. Alternatively you can carry out a search on the Historic Scotland website, available from the 'Related Sites' section of this page.

Further details on Listed Buildings can be found at the 'Related Links' section on this page.

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Conservation Area Consent

Conservation Area Consent is required for the demolition of any unlisted building or structure in a conservation area, with very limited exceptions. There is no charge for making an application for conservation consent.

Further details on Conservation Areas can be found at the 'Related Links' section on this page.

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Advertisement Consent

This is required for the display of advertisements. Certain small or temporary signs may not need this consent.

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Tree Preservation Order

No works should be undertaken to a tree covered by a TPO without the consent of the Council.

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Treeworks in Conservation Areas Consent

No works should be undertaken to a tree within a conservation area without the consent of the Council.

Further details on Tree Conservation can be found at the 'Related Links' section on this page.

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High Hedge

The High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013 came into force on 1st April 2014. The Act aims to provide a solution to the problem of high hedges, where neighbours have not been able to resolve the issue amicably, by providing an effective means of resolving disputes over the effects of high hedges which interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of domestic property. The Act gives home owners and occupiers a right to apply to the Council for a high hedge notice and empowers councils to make and enforce decisions in relation to high hedges in their local area. A high hedge is defined by the Act as a hedge that is formed wholly or mainly by a row of two or more trees or shrubs, is over two metres in height and forms a barrier to light. The Scottish Government has published guidance which can be accessed via the 'Related links' section on this page.

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Hazardous Substances Consent

Hazardous Substances Consent must be obtained from the Council when the aggregate quantity of the substance defined in planning regulations exceeds the controlled quantity. Hazardous Substance Consent is obtained by submitting an application in a similar way to a planning applications with owner and neighbour notification and a notice placed in the press.

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Certificate of Lawfulness

A Certificate of Lawfulness can be applied for, either to confirm that proposed development does not need planning permission, or to confirm that any existing development that did not have planning permission does not need it.

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Pre Application Screening Notice

Developments which are classed as either “national” or “major” developments require statutory pre-application consultation with the community before a planning application is submitted. National developments are identified in the National Planning Framework and major developments are defined in planning regulations. If there is uncertainty as to whether a proposal is for a national or major development an applicant can submit a pre-application screening notice requiring the Council to determine whether the proposal requires statutory pre-application consultation.

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Planning permission is required for any new marine fish farm or shellfish farm or for modifications to an existing fish farm. This applies to the placement of equipment in the sea, on the seabed or on the foreshore below MWHS out to 12 nautical miles. The types of development that may need planning permission are:

  • New site – development of a previously undeveloped site or introduction of a completely different type of fish farming such as shellfish instead of finfish or vice versa.
  • Change of use – a development which involves a change in the species that will be farmed on site, e.g. Salmon to Cod.
  • Alterations/Extension to existing site – development which involves a change in the layout of the site; changes to cage sizes or changes to the equipment (e.g. feed barges, top nets) used on the site.

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There are permitted development rights for certain works to and changes of use of fish farms. A number of these rights require prior notification to the Council before they can go ahead. Details can be found at the website available from the 'Related Sites' section of this page.

Proposals for developments that would have a significant impact on the environment would normally be required to be subject to an environmental impact assessment (EIA). If there is doubt over whether EIA is required, an application for a Screening Opinion may be made. If it is recognised that EIA is needed but the views of the Council on what it should cover are required, then an application for a Scoping Opinion can be made. More information on environmental impact assessments (EIA) can be found at website available from the 'Related Sites' section of this page. 

If you are unsure if you are still unsure what type of consent your proposed development may require please contact us to discuss your proposal either on telephone 01856873535 extension 2504 or email Development Management.

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