TO HELP reverse rural depopulation, there is to be a review into the need to apply for planning permission for certain types of rural development.

Scottish rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing welcomed the announcement: “Rural Scotland makes a vital and often under-appreciated contribution to our national economy. We know more young people want to stay in rural Scotland and that depopulation threatens the longer-term sustainability of rural communities – the very communities that look after our landscapes, support the tourism sector and provide the food for our plates.

“As part of a wider review into the Scottish planning system, I am delighted that we are reviewing permitted development rights. This will bring benefits for communities seeking rural housing solutions and agricultural businesses looking to grow and develop. For example, this might include the conversion of agricultural buildings on farms to create new homes or making it easier to develop operational farm buildings, such as sheds and polytunnels.

“I believe these reforms will help our work to increase the rural population, helping the planning system to positively contribute to the long-term sustainability of rural businesses and communities.”