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Planning Guidance and background information supporting the West Lothian Local Development Plan

A suite of planning guidance providing more detail and expanding upon existing policies contained within the Adopted West Lothian Local Development Plan 2018 has been/is being produced and there is a requirement for public consultation on such guidance to allow anyone who may wish to make comment to do so. Comments submitted will be taken into account when finalising each document.

Planning Guidance

Planning guidance provides additional detail on specific subject areas and explains how planning policies will be implemented. It is produced as either 'statutory' supplementary guidance (SG) or 'non-statutory' planning guidance (PG).

Statutory SG must have been referenced within the Local Development Plan, gone through consultation and approved by Scottish Ministers. Once adopted, SG has statutory weight in the determination of planning applications and forms part of the plan.

Non-statutory PG is not subject to approval by Scottish Ministers and is not part of the development plan. As a consequence it does not have as much weight as SG but is nonetheless a 'material consideration' in decisions on planning applications. 

Approved guidance

Statutory Supplementary Guidance (SG)
Non Statutory Planning Guidance (PG)


Drafted guidance (waiting approval)

Statutory Supplementary Guidance (SG)
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Non Statutory Planning Guidance (PG)
  • None - this space has been left blank intentionally.


Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Screening

Screening Reports and Screening Determinations relating to (SG) and (PG)


Background Information

West Lothian Local Landscape Designation Review (2013)

West Lothian Council commissioned Land Use Consultants led by a steering group including Scottish Natural Heritage to undertake a review of the local landscape designations which had been identified in the West Lothian Local Plan (2009). The review was published as a background paper to the Main Issues Report of the West Lothian Local Development Plan and informed preparation of the Plan which was adopted in 2018.

The Statements of Importance (SOIs) for each special landscape area are within chapter 7 of the Review. The finalised boundaries of the Special Landscape Areas are however those shown in the Proposals Maps of the adopted LDP.

West Lothian Landscape Character Classification (2014)

The West Lothian Landscape Character Classification is an in-house document prepared as a follow up to the West Lothian Local Landscape Designation Review.

It was also a background paper which informed preparation of the West Lothian Local Development Plan and in particular the text of policy ENV 1 Landscape Character and Special Landscape Areas.

Landscape Capacity Study for Wind Energy Development in West Lothian (2011)

This is a regional-scale, broad strategic study which was published in 2011. The Landscape Capacity Study provides base-line information for the West Lothian Landscape Character Classification and acts as a background technical study for the preparation of policy guidance on how to accommodate future wind energy developments.

The Forth Bridge World Heritage Site: Key Viewpoints (2016)

The Forth Bridge was officially designated as a World Heritage Site on 5 July 2015 by UNESCO. As part of the protection of the landscape setting for the World Heritage Site status of The Forth Bridge, West Lothian Council is tasked with applying planning protection for Viewpoint 8: Newton (lay-by, A904) and Viewpoint 9: Viewing Tower at the House of the Binns.    

Wind Energy Data Map

The Wind Energy Data Map is not a 'live' resource but consolidates information at intervals throughout the year. For the most current information regarding the location of turbine applications determined or in the planning system it is therefore advisable to contact the Development Management team directly by email.

West Lothian Core Paths Plan

Core paths can be paths, waterways or any other means of crossing land to facilitate, promote and manage the exercise of access rights under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, and are identified as such in the council's Core Paths Plan. The Core Path Plan provides a basic framework of routes for the purpose of giving the public reasonable access throughout a particular area for walking, cycling, horse riding and other non-motorised activities.

Descriptions of paths in the Core Path Network

The Plan has been split into pdf files and includes map detail and descriptions of paths in the Core Path Network.

For more information on the paths which each of the above plans covers, go to the West Lothian's Core Paths Plan webpage.

West Lothian Retail Capacity Study (2008)

In 2008 the council commissioned the West Lothian Retail Capacity Study from consultants Halcrow. The purpose of this was to consider convenience shopping provision and make recommendations on the adequacy of retail floor space provided within West Lothian in relation to current and projected available expenditure. It is a material consideration to be taken into account in the determination of planning applications.

Lowland Crofting Handbook (2008)

This version of the Lowland Crofting Handbook was produced in 2008. It remains the authoritative guide on the initiative and is specifically referred to in the adopted West Lothian Local Development Plan (2018) and also in supporting supplementary guidance (SG) Development in the Countryside. 

The Farmsteadings of the Bathgate Hills (2001)

This booklet is the result of a survey of farm steadings carried out the former West Lothian District Council and is referenced in the adopted West Lothian Local Development Plan 2018  and also in supporting supplementary guidance (SG) Development in the Countryside. 

West Lothian Soil Sustainability Report (2004)

In 2004 West Lothian Council, in partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage, commissioned the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) to prepare a report on the soils of West Lothian. The report takes the form of a desktop study and seeks to increase awareness and understanding of the soils in West Lothian. 

If you have any questions relating to planning guidance, SEA Screening, background information or just want to provide feedback and comments on our service, please email the Development Planning team at You can also write to us at Development Planning and Environment, West Lothian Civic Centre, Howden South Road, Livingston, West Lothian EH54 6FF or phone 01506 280000.

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