Huts and Scottish Planning Policy

Karen Grant, Reforesting Scotland and the Campaigner for the Thousand Huts campaign, tells us about the launch of good practice guidance for new hut developments.

80 members of the planning, architecture and building professions gathered at the Scottish Parliament on 23rd February to celebrate the launch of good practice guidance for new hut developments. ‘New hutting developments: Good practice guidance on the planning, development and management of huts and hut sites’ was developed by Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Huts campaign to support the rolling out of Scottish Planning Policy on huts.

Welcoming the report, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“Huts and hutting are a great way for people to enjoy Scotland’s outstanding natural environment, with all the benefits to health and wellbeing this can bring. I very much welcome the publication of this guidance, which I hope will provide an important opportunity for many more people in Scotland to enjoy the recreational benefits associated with huts and hutting.”

Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Huts campaign team and Planning Advisory Group spent 2 years working with planning and building professionals to produce the guide to help planners, architects and hut builders alike achieve good practice in new hut developments. This work was supported by The Planning Exchange Foundation, and has been reviewed by planning, legal and tenancy professionals in the public and private sectors and at a local and national level.

Hutting in Scotland

70 years ago Scotland had a thriving hutting culture: hundreds of small wooden huts dotted around the country. They gave an opportunity for industrial workers on low wages to get out to the fresh air and peace of the natural environment with their families. However, until recently, the lack of any formal recognition of hutting in policy or legislation has been an impediment to the building of new hu


A new era for huts

A new era was ushered in when revised Scottish Planning Policy 2014 included supportive policy on huts, indicating that the demand for huts for recreational use is one of the matters that should be addressed in the preparation of development plans.

Now the Scottish Government Building Standards Division is analysing consultation responses to the proposal that huts be exempt from building regulations (with some exceptions). The result of this consultation will be announced in Summer 2016.

As a result of the more favourable policy and planning framework for huts, Reforesting Scotland is beginning to see new proposals for hut developments coming forward. We recently surveyed over 800 people who would like to have access to a hut for recreational use. The demand is large, and growing.

The guidance is based on the SPP definition of a hut:ts.

A simple building used intermittently as recreational accommodation (i.e. not a principal residence); having an internal floor area of no more than 30m2; constructed from low impact materials; generally not connected to mains water, electricity or sewerage; and built in such a way that it is removable with little or no trace at the end of its life. Huts may be built singly or in groups.

The document covers a wide range of planning considerations including: What is a hut; use patterns of huts; where might huts be built; services; and provision for management of the land around huts.

To download a copy of New hutting developments: Good practice guidance on the planning, development and management of huts and hut sites go to

Karen Grant, Reforesting Scotland and the Campaigner for the Thousand Huts campaign.