Coronavirus (COVID-19)

View updates on coronavirus and 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:

If you are a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can have this information translated for you via contactSCOTLAND-BSL, the online British Sign Language interpreting service.

Planning applications

To keep up to date with how we are maintaining a functioning planning system please refer to the briefing notes:

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

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

The national portals remain fully operational, our services are running as usual in terms of connecting to the portal on a regular basis. Please continue to make use of this method for submitting your new planning application and any additional documentation you are required to submit for any on-going application.

Where possible, please pay for your application via the portal when submitting your application. Alternatively, payments can be made by credit or debit card via telephone on 01467 534333. You will be advised when your application is awaiting payment.

If you have already submitted items in paper over the last few days, there will be a delay in processing them. Please contact 01467 53433 if you require any assistance or information.

Enforcement - 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 - public consultation underway

Public consultation on the Proposed Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan (LDP) 2020 officially commenced on Monday, 25th May 2020. Formal representations, or responses, on content of the Proposed LDP can be accepted until 31st July 2020. Consultation on the Strategic Environmental Assessment – Environmental Report of the Proposed Local Development Plan is also taking place during this period.
 
You can view the Proposed Local Development Plan, download a response form, and view a range of material available to assist in the understanding of the plan-making process and the individual policies and proposals outlined in the proposed plan via a dedicated Proposed LDP page. 

You can contact us about the Local Development Plan 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

Scottish Government has produced a statement on what exercising rights of access responsibly under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 means during the COVID-19 emergency. View mnisterial statement on access rights during COVID-19.

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. Where possible please make sure that your application is supported with photographs which identify the issue. For further advice please contact the Environment team at planning@aberdeenshire.gov.uk.