Coronavirus (COVID-19)

View updates on council services. If you are affected and need assistance, please visit Grampian Coronavirus (COVID-19) Assistance Hub.

Planning and environment services - Coronavirus

We are taking steps to allow us to continue to deliver our services with as little disruption as possible. On this page you can find out about current arrangements for the following:

Site visits

In the interests of business continuity, we are currently reviewing ways in which staff may be able to undertake safe site visits in relation to all workstreams and on the basis of national health and safety guidance in relation to COVID-19. We will issue further guidance in due course.

Planning applications

To help minimise risk to our staff and the public, we put the following measures in place:

  • We continue to carry out all work in association with the receipt, validation, processing, assessment and decision-making for planning applications
  • Our local Planning offices will be closed to the public but you will still be able to contact the team by phone or email
  • Any meetings will be conducted by telephone or skype video call
  • Communication will be through telephone, skype video call, email or formal letter

You can continue to use the ePlanning portal. Please note that at this time we are unable to accept paper applications or cheque payments for fees. You can also continue viewing planning applications and submitting representations.

Public engagement and planning

Legislation for major planning applications requires applicants to submit a Proposal of Application Notice (POAN) outlining pre-application public engagement proposals. In light of current restrictions on public gatherings, we don't recommend public events. Applicants and agents should explore alternative way to engage and receive feedback from the community. Please contact us to discuss potential options. We are working on providing guidance on this and we will publish it as soon as it is finalised.

Enforcement - complaints about a breach of planning control

We will be continuing to investigate enforcement complaints as far as possible, prioritising cases where necessary.  As is usual, we ask for the provision of as much information as possible, including photographs if safe to do so, when reporting breaches in planning control

Local Development Plan

We continue to work on the Proposed Local Development Plan. We are currently considering the best way forward with regards the formal consultation period in line with the government guidance.

You can contact us about the Local Development by email at ldp@aberdeenshire.gov.uk or by phone on 01467 536230.

Environment and archaeology

Countryside rangers and Bennachie Visitor Centre

The Bennachie Visitor Centre will remain closed indefinitely. The public toilets at the centre are also closed. Please note that Forestry and Land Scotland has closed the car park at the centre.

All Ranger service public activities and events are cancelled until the end of May 2020. Staff will continue to work and prepare for our future programme of activities and the reopening of the Bennachie Visitor Centre. We understand how important it is for health and wellbeing to access the outdoors, so we are thinking about how we can share our natural and cultural heritage with you virtually during this difficult time. 

View Ranger service contact details. You can also can join Rangers service on facebook.

Environment, Archaeology and North East of Scotland Records Centre (NESBReC) 

Our Environment, Archaeology and North East of Scotland Records Centre (NESBReC) teams are having to work differently to comply with the government’s guidance on personal contact so we are unable to provide some services and things may take a little longer in some cases. View more details:

Paths and outdoor access

At the moment there are no restrictions to responsible outdoor access. Some key things to keep in mind:

  • Please comply with national guidance on social distancing and keep at least 2m apart from other path users and from occupants of properties adjacent to any paths
  • One outing for exercise per day – walk, run or cycle, alone or with members of your household
  • Stay local – don't get in your car to drive to other areas
  • Always pick up your litter
  • It is lambing season and bird nesting season - please keep your dogs under strict control, the best way to do this is on a short lead, this also helps with social distancing
  • Remember to wash or sanitise your hands as soon as you get home

During the current restrictions, access officers are not undertaking site visits or face to face meetings. If you have an access issue you wish to report or require advice or information about outdoor access in Aberdeenshire please contact outdoor.access@aberdeenshire.gov.uk with as many details as possible and we will investigate.

Works to protected trees

During the current restrictions council officers are not undertaking any site visits or face to face meetings. We are therefore currently unable to process applications for works to trees covered by a tree preservation order or in a conservation area other than applications for emergency work necessary in the interests of health and safety.

If you require to carry out emergency work on a protected tree, or a tree in a conservation area because of an obvious danger to the public or property please follow the normal application process. Please make sure where possible your application is supported with photographs which identify the issue. For further advice please contact the Environment team at planning@aberdeenshire.gov.uk.

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