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Strategic Development Plan (SDP)

The Strategic Development Plan (SDP) is a statutory planning document which is prepared or updated every five years and covers a twenty year time period. It communicates strategic level and cross-boundary planning policy and applies national policy and guidance from the Scottish Government. It is also used to inform the Local Development Plans prepared by each of the Member Authorities in the Edinburgh and South East Scotland region.

Strategic Development Plan (SDP)

The SDP replaced the Edinburgh and the Lothians Structure Plan, the Fife Structure Plan (in part) and the Scottish Borders Structure Plan.

SESplan is the current Strategic Development Planning Authority for the Edinburgh and South East Scotland region and comprising the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, West Lothian and the southern half of the Fife council area.

Since its inception the key role of SESplan has been to prepare and maintain an up-to-date Strategic Development Plan (SDP) for the area, the first of which (SDP1) was approved by Scottish Ministers (with modifications) on 27 June 2013. The modifications included a requirement that SESplan prepare supplementary guidance to identify the individual housing requirements for Local Development Plan areas. The supplementary guidance was approved by Scottish Ministers and was formally adopted as part of the development plan by all SESplan authorities on 28 October 2014.

Information about the Scottish Ministers decision is also available on the planning pages of the Scottish Government website and on the SESplan website.


Strategic Development Plan (SDP 2) (Not progressed)

In October 2016, SESplan published the second Proposed Strategic Development Plan for consultation. The period for making representations ended in November 2016.

SESplan's second proposed Strategic Development Plan (SDP 2) was submitted to Scottish Ministers for examination on 26 June 2017.

On 20 July 2018 the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) completed its examination and submitted a report to Scottish Ministers.

On 16 May 2019 SESplan was advised that the Proposed Strategic Development Plan (SDP 2) had been rejected by the Scottish Ministers under Section 13 (1) of the Planning Act.

The decision letter Icon for pdf SDP 2 Rejection Letter from Scottish Ministers [176.47KB] advises that the Plan had failed to satisfy Ministers that it had been informed by an adequate and timely Transport Appraisal and had not taken sufficient account of the relationship between land use and transport. It further advises that the use of supplementary guidance as a mechanism to resolve this issue had been considered but had not been supported my Ministers.

The SESplan Authorities have since considered this decision and two documents setting out their position are provided for information.

As an information resource the rejected SDP 2 Plan and supporting documents continue to be available for download from the SESplan website.


Regional Spatial Strategy for Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 removed the requirement to prepare SDPs and now requires the preparation and adoption of Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS). These are non-statutory documents which provide a spatial representation of the key regional land use issues requiring to be addressed across a region. 

Although non-statutory in nature (they do not form part of the development plan and will not have a status in planning decisions) their purpose is to guide the development of the two parts of the Development Plan set out in the 2019 Act, namely the National Planning Framework and Local Development Plans. 

West Lothian Council has worked collaboratively with other SESplan local authorities to prepare an interim Regional Spatial Strategy and this was considered by the SESplan Joint Committee on 21 September 2020.  Following ratification of the Joint Committee's decision by each of the SESplan member authorities, the interim Regional Spatial Strategy was submitted to Scottish Government for consideration. Scottish Government is currently considering the submission. The interim Regional Spatial Strategy can be viewed at SESplan iRSS



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

Alternatively, you can contact the SESplan team directly by sending an email to


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