New planning rules that make it easier to install a reverse vending machine come into effect today.

The rules, which were designed by the Scottish Governement following discussions with retailers, completed the Scottish Parliament's process today. 

We've produced a quick guide to help you understand what the rules mean for you. 

Planning permission for Reverse Vending Machines: what you need to know

If you're looking to install a Reverse Vending Machine in preparation for Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme, there's a good chance you won't have to apply for planning permission. 

The Scottish Government has changed the planning rules to help Scotland's businesses get ready for the scheme going live in summer 2022. 

The changes were designed following consultation with representatives of the retail sector and will remove the need for planning except in a limited set of circumstances

The full list of restrictions is explained below. If you meet these criteria, there's no need to apply for planning permission. 

How big is your RVM?

The rules have been designed to accommodate most common RVMs. However, you will still have to apply for planning permission for the RVM if:

  • the machine is more than 3.5 metres tall
  • its footprint exceeds 80 metres squared 

If you're unsure about the dimensions of your RVM, check with the manufacturer. 

For planning purposes, the term RVM includes any structure or building to house the RVM. All dimensions and restrictions include those of any housing or structure associated with it. 

Are you placing an RVM near to houses?

If your RVM will be located close to a residential building, you might still have to apply for planning permission.

The rules state that planning permission is required if the RVM will be located within 15 metres of “the curtilage” of a residential building.

The curtilage refers to land directly associated with the building. For residential properties, this is generally the perimeter of the garden or land where the property is situated.

How will the RVM sit in the walls of your shop?

If you’re looking to install an RVM in the wall of a shop, you’ll need to apply for planning permission if it will protrude 2 metres beyond the outer surface of that wall. That includes any canopy or structure to house the RVM.

Will your RVM be in a protected area?

You will also have to apply for planning permission if you plan on installing an RVM within certain protected areas.

These are:

  • a site of archaeological interest
  • a national scenic area
  • a historic garden or designed landscape
  • a historic battlefield
  • convervation area
  • a National Park 
  • a World Heritage Site

You can find more information on reverse vending machines, and a whole host of other topics, in our FAQs.

Do you need more information?
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