UK: DEPA Review

Last Updated: 12 October 2011
Article by Murray Shaw

The annual review from the Directorate for Planning & Environmental Appeals (DPEA) always makes interesting reading.  This year however it is of particular interest as the period it covers (2010/2011) is the first full year (as the review itself points out) during which the reforms to the planning system have been fully in effect.  The changes are reflected in the statistics which are included in the report.

The review is primarily authored by the new Director and Chief Reporter, Lindsey Nicoll.  Her introductory statement comments on the changes which have been made and indeed the proactive work which had been undertaken by the DPEA to obtain feedback in relation to what they have been doing and how they do it.

The review itself appears to reflect the much more open and transparent approach which the DPEA has adopted.  Reference is made to the stakeholder group which it has set up (to discuss issues) and the surveys which it has carried out in relation to the areas it deals with.  The review document itself feels more informal with comments from two Reporters in one of the appendices about the nature of the role they as individuals fulfil and what that means to them.

Possibly the most interesting information however in the report can be found in the statistics which are included in various appendices.  In 2010/2011 the DPEA received 563 cases. This is approximately half the numbers they received in the preceding period and a third of the numbers they received just 5 years ago.  That reduction is probably a reflection of two factors as the report itself points out namely, the change to the system and the economic position of the country.  As a consequence of the changes brought in the DPEA has no jurisdiction to deal with any appeals if they are relating to "local" developments and decided in terms of the relevant Schem of Delegation.  (Hierarchy and Scheme of Delegation Development Management – The Final Part of the Jigsaw).  The report acknowledges the effect of the economic position of the country.  Certainly the numbers of planning applications made are significantly down.  It is impossible from the figures however to work out to what extent the very significant reduction is caused by the changes in the system as opposed to the economic position of the country – probably primarily the former however.

The majority of appeals are still planning permission appeals and it is in that area that the most significant percentage reduction can be seen – planning permission appeals are down by some 65% over the preceding year.  By contrast the number of enforcement appeals is steady and the reduction in other types of appeal is not so marked.  Indeed there is a slight increase in some types of appeal (notably Development Plan – see below), but also in the category simply identified as "other".  These include appeals under other legislation and therefore likely to include wind farm appeals made under the Electricity Act rather than the planning legislation (though see below). 

The relevant appendix also includes a breakdown of the types of appeals.  From that, there is probably some evidence of the effect of the economic situation with a reduction in a number of the commercial categories, though it is probably not possible to be specific about the impact of the downturn in the economy from the figures available.  Interestingly enough there is a significant reduction in the number of energy development applications made, possibly reflecting an unwillingness to "invest" in an expensive appeal process in the current economic climate, notwithstanding the significant financial benefits that can arise from a wind farm development.  It is not immediately clear how this statistic relates to the increase in the "other" category referred to above.  The explanation may simply be that wind farm schemes are getting bigger taking them out of the planning regime into the jurisdiction of the Electricity Act.

As the report itself points out, the success rate of appeals is 45% in the round in relation to appeals.  There is a higher rate of success in respect of cases where there had not been an appeal (such as called in decisions and compulsory purchase cases).  The success rate in appeal cases is higher than it has been in previous years which are the report points out may well be a reflection of the fact that given the cost of appealing only those cases with a higher degree of potential success are being pursued. 

One interesting table is Table 5 which shows the number of appeals decided in respect of each planning authority and those which were successful.  There are very significant differences between the planning authorities as to their success (in effect) in defending appeals.  For example in relation to East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire the rate of success looking at matters from the perspective of appellants (albeit on a relatively modest number of appeals) is 50% or more as it also is for East Dunbartonshire, Stirling, East Lothian and Falkirk.  It is also interesting to note that Edinburgh had significantly more appeals than Glasgow, with Glasgow being marginally more successful it would appear based upon the statistics in defending appeals than Edinburgh.  The reason for these differences can only be speculated upon – there is no information in the report to help with that (not surprisingly). 

The report also provides information in relation to Local Plan procedures.  It is clear that for most Local Plans now there is a team of Reporters deployed to deal with matters.  The time taken to complete the report also appears to be falling though it is probably premature to derive a trend from the information which is available (given its limitations). 

Information is also provided in relation to the DPEA's own  performance against targets which generally appears to be good. 

The report shows that inquiries are few and far between with any oral process normally taking the form of a hearing.  Many cases are dealt with following upon a site inspection (typically householder developments).  In a couple of cases there was no further procedure at all which presumably means these were effectively rejected.  No information is given about the basis of rejection.  It may be assumed that these are cases however where it was clear they were without merit rather than being cases which wrongly came to the DPEA (there have been a degree of confusion in some instances about where the right of appeal lies). 

All in all the report provides some interestingly information for those involved in the planning process.  It will be interesting to see whether the trends that this report reveals continue going forward.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.