August 9, 2017
Hutting made easier
A few more pieces have fallen into place in the complicated jigsaw that will eventually see hutting become part and parcel of Scottish life. New legislation came into force last month that will make it a whole lot easier from a planning perspective for anyone who wants to build a hut for recreational use. And if you don’t know what that entails in a practical sense, but nonetheless like the idea of it, the group – A Thousand Huts – are getting very close to publishing a how-to guide. Watch this space.
As part of a plan to revive hut culture in Scotland, new legislation has come into force on 1st July 2017 to make it easier for people to build a simple hut for recreational use.
The Scottish Government has created a new building type for huts which will reduce the regulatory burden for hut builders, in effect exempting huts from most building regulations, and reducing the need for Building Warrants in key areas of health and safety where regulations still need to be met. Not only will this reduce the burden on hutters, it will also reduce the burden on building standards officers, saving money for local authorities. This change is in response to the recent SG consultation showing widespread support for a relaxing of restrictions on the building of simple woodland huts.
In recent years an enthusiasm for hut life has grown in momentum, spearheaded by the charity Reforesting Scotland. Supporters of simple, low impact living have been frustrated by the lack of a planning or regulatory framework to allow construction of a simple recreational hut.
In 2014 the Scottish Government brought in a new policy in support of huts for recreational use, with a tight definition of the low impact nature of huts. The latest change is part of the rolling out of that policy and means that a burden of expense and regulation will be lifted from hut owners.
Reforesting Scotland huts campaigner, Peter Caunt ,said, “It’s important to state that hut builders will still be required to apply for planning permission to build a hut. It will then be their own responsibility to ensure they comply with high standards of health and safety, and low environmental impact. Some areas, such as underground drainage, will still require a Building Warrant, whereas in other areas, such as structure, the responsibility is theirs to comply with the relevant regulations. If they don’t comply, they will be liable if something goes wrong.”
To help hutters meet these standards, Reforesting Scotland is producing a Guide to Good Practice in Hut Construction, due to be published next month. Last year, the group published a sister document about planning issues for huts, New hutting developments: Good Practice Guidance on the planning, development and management of huts and hut sites.