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Listed building planning constraints

Conservation areas

South Lanarkshire has 30 conservation areas which preserve their architectural or historical interest.

There are stricter planning controls in conservation areas. This means that you may need planning permission for certain work that wouldn't need it elsewhere. If you live in a conservation area you should always check with us to find out if you need planning permission before starting any work.

You need to give us six weeks notice if you intend to cut down trees or carry out work such as lopping or topping of trees in a conservation area.

New development work will usually only be granted planning permission if you can show that it will not harm the character or appearance of the area.

Once an area is designated a conservation area we have a duty to advertise proposals that may affect it, by site notice and in the local newspaper so that the public can comment if they wish. More information on conservation areas in South Lanarkshire can be found on our Conservation page.

Special area of conservation

A Special area of conservation (SAC) is a site designated under the Habitats Directive. These sites, together with Special Protection Areas (SPAs), are called Natura sites and they are internationally important for threatened habitats and species. Natura sites form a unique network of protected areas which stretch across the whole of Europe.

SACs are selected for a number of habitats and species, both terrestrial and marine, which are listed in the Habitats Directive. When a planning application is submitted for development that may have an impact on a SAC, we will consult Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and take into account any comments that they make.

In South Lanarkshire, the following are SACs

  • Braehead Moss
  • Clyde Valley Woodlands
  • Coalburn Moss
  • Craigengar
  • Cranley Moss
  • Red Moss
  • Waukenway Moss
  • Special Protection Areas:
  • Muirkirk and North Lowther Uplands

For more information on SACs, please see the Scottish Natural Heritage website or contact our Planning and Building standards office.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

These are sites highlighted by Scottish Natural Heritage as representing or containing the best examples of particular species, habitats, geology or geomorphology. In South Lanarkshire, SSSI's can be found at:

  • Avondale
  • Birk Knowes
  • Birkenhead Burn
  • Blantyre Muir
  • Blood Moss and Slot Burn
  • Bothwell Castle Grounds
  • Braehead Moss
  • Calder Glen
  • Cander Moss Environmental Designated Sites 125
  • Carnwath Moss
  • Carstairs Kames
  • Cartland Craigs
  • Cleghorn Glen
  • Coalburn Moss
  • Cobbinshaw Moss
  • Cobbinshaw Reservoir
  • Craigengar
  • Craighead Hill Quarry
  • Cranley Moss
  • Dolphinton - West Linton Fens and Grassland
  • Dunside
  • Falls of Clyde
  • Fiddlers Gill
  • Garrion Gill
  • Gillsburn and Mare Gill
  • Hamilton High Parks
  • Hamilton Low Parks
  • Jocks Gill Wood
  • Kennox Water
  • Leadhills-Wanlockhead
  • Millburn
  • Millers Wood
  • Milton Lockhart Wood
  • Muirkirk Uplands
  • Nethan Gorge
  • North Lowther Uplands
  • Ravengill
  • Red Moss
  • Ree Burn and Glenbuck Loch
  • River Clyde Meanders
  • Shiel Burn
  • Shiel Dod
  • Tinto Hills
  • Townhead Burn
  • Upper Nethan Valley Woods
  • Waukenwae Moss

Tree preservation orders

There are three ways that trees can be protected by planning legislation:

  • by attaching a condition to a planning permission for a new development – this prevents the removal of existing trees on a development site or prevents works being carried out to them
  • by making a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) – we can make an order for the preservation of trees or woodlands if we think that the trees make a contribution to the amenity of an area, or if the trees, groups of trees or woodlands are of cultural or historical significance. When a TPO is in place, you need our permission to cut down, top, lop or uproot any of the protected trees. It is an offence to wilfully damage or destroy any trees. If you think a tree or group of trees should be protected, you should contact the Planning and building standards explaining where they are and why you think they should be protected. We will assess your suggestion based on the contribution the trees make to the area.
  • Trees in a conservation area – if a tree or group of trees is in a conservation area (and not covered by a TPO), then anybody who intends to carry out work must give us at least six weeks notice before carrying out the work. If we give permission for the works, or if the six weeks' passes without us taking any action, then the works can go ahead. Alternatively, we may decide to make a TPO over the tree(s) to protect them.

More information about Tree Preservation Orders and trees in conservation areas can be found on the Scottish Government website: Circular 1 2011 - Tree Preservation Orders.


Flood risk is an issue that you need to consider if you are planning any new development, from a house extension to a larger development.

A risk of flooding can have important implications for the siting and design of your proposal, or in some cases, may prevent the development happening at all.

You can check to see if your property or land is affected by an area of flood risk by using SEPA's Indicative River and Coastal Flood Map. 

For significant development proposals where flood risk may be an issue, we advise pre-application discussions with us and SEPA. Whilst flooding can't be prevented, the risk from it can be minimised. More information on flooding can be found on the SEPA website.

Contaminated land

South Lanarkshire has a long industrial history, including heavy engineering works, metal processing, chemical manufacturing, deep coal mining, quarrying and waste disposal. This means that there are areas of land that may have been contaminated.

It is the responsibility of the owners/developers to find out if there are any potentially harmful substances on their sites and where necessary, to take steps to ensure that no significant contamination remains after development is complete. This ensures that people can live and work at them without any risk of harm from substances left over from previous uses.

It is the Council's responsibility to ensure owners and developers carry out the appropriate contaminated land assessment to ensure any contamination is dealt with and the land is made suitable for the proposed new use.

An application for the redevelopment of a site that is contaminated will only be granted planning permission if the site is remediated to a standard that makes it suitable for the new use of the land.

Contaminated land issues are also dealt with by Environmental Services officers who are consulted on planning applications involving contaminated land. More information on developing land that is contaminated can be found on the Contaminated land page.


There are various high pressure gas pipelines which run through parts of South Lanarkshire, as well as the Shell ethylene pipeline. Each pipeline has a buffer zone that may restrict certain types of development from taking place.

If we receive an application that falls within the buffer zone, we will consult the pipeline operator to see if the development would have an impact on safety and will advise the developer if the work should be allowed on safety grounds using rules provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). This advice is provided by the HSE PADHI (Planning Advice for Development near to Hazardous Installations) process. More information on this can be found at the HSE website - land use planning.

Coal mining risk assessment

South Lanarkshire has a significant coal mining history. Many properties are in areas that could be affected by problems from old coal workings. The Coal Authority has used its mining records to divide the coalfield into two types of area:

  • development high risk areas contain specific recorded coal mining legacy risks to the surface. If your proposal is in a development high risk area you may need to submit a Coal Mining Risk Assessment Report and provide details of any remediation works that may be required
  • development low risk areas are the remainders of the coalfield, where coal mining took place was at such depth so as not to create a risk to new developments

These risks need to be taken into account when considering development proposals because of the implications for public safety, ground stability and the future liability for coal mining subsidence damage.

More information is available on the Coal mining legacy problems page.

Related content

  1. Planning constraints
  2. Conservation areas