Prior Notifications (Private Ways for Agricultural and Forestry Use)

The Regulations

Classes 18 and 22 of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development and Use Classes) (Scotland) Order 1992 (as amended) permit the formation or alteration private roads or footpaths (private ways) for agricultural and forestry use subject to the following process  

The Process

Developers can submit a prior notification for determination as to whether or not prior approval is required.  The Council has 28 days to respond to prior notification and if we do not respond within that period the development can go ahead.   The Council is likely to respond in every case.  The response will either be prior approval is not required in which case development can proceed or prior approval is required in which case there is further procedure to through.   If prior approval is required, we will send you another simple form to complete and the decision letter will make clear if any additional information is required. Sometimes no additional information is required.  In these circumstances development cannot proceed unless prior approval is granted.   You have a right of appeal to Scottish Ministers against any decision made on or condition attached to a prior approval.   You can also appeal against non-determination if the prior approval is not determined within 8 weeks. 

Prior Notification cannot be submitted retrospectively.  If you have already started works then planning permission will be required.    

What you can do

Farm Tracks

  • Form or alter a private way for the purposes of agriculture or forestry 

What you cant do

The following limitations apply:

Farm Buildings

  • Your farm holding must be at least 0.4 ha (in the case of crofts this can be calculated by adding together separate parcels of land)
  • The private way must be for agricultural purpose  (please note  equestrian uses are not considered to be agricultural for the purposes of this class);
  • The private way must not be within 25m of a classified or trunk road;
  • The development cannot include the formation of a new access to classified or trunk road

Forestry Tracks

  • The private way must be for forestry purposes ;
  • The private way must not be within 25m of a classified or trunk road
  • The development cannot include the formation of a new access to classified or trunk road

Permitted Development rights may not apply if the land is a covered by a designation such as National Scenic Area (NSA), Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or a Special Protection Area (SPA).  Please contact us for further advice if you think that might apply to your case.  

The need for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be considered.    Forestry Scotland are the responsible authority for forestry tracks and the Council will not accept a prior notification for a track exceeding 1ha unless a negative screening opinion is provided.  

What we consider

The matters we consider when assessing a prior notification or prior approval are as follows:

• The design, manner of construction and route of the private way

Please make sure that you provide sufficient information to cover all these matters.  

What you need

The following must accompany every application for prior notification:

  • Application form;

  • Fee;
  • Location Plan (1:2500 or 1:5000)– this must show the building in the context of the wider area.  The application site must be outlined in red and any adjoining land in the same ownership should be outlined in blue.;
  • Agricultural holding number (agricultural proposals only);
  • Site plan 1:500 or 1:200:
  • Details including cross sections of the proposed way.

    Development permitted under this class must be carried out within 3 years with the date of determination.  

Contact Us

Development Management
Economic Growth & Development
The Moray Council
PO Box 6760, Elgin
IV30 9BX

0300 1234561

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