3.2 Access and turning layouts

3.2.1 Turning areas

New road layouts should, where possible, be designed so that service and delivery vehicles do not need to reverse on the public road. This is best achieved by ensuring that premises are accessible from two directions. A cul-de-sac will only be accepted where traffic volumes are expected to be low, but the dangers of reversing vehicles should not be overlooked. Turning areas should be proved by means of swept-path analysis.

The dimensions of turning areas should suit the characteristics of the largest vehicles to use the facility regularly. In residential roads, this is taken to be the "Large Rigid Vehicle" defined in the Freight Transport Association's Designing for Deliveries; this vehicle is 2.5m wide with a 6.1m wheelbase within an overall vehicle length of 10m. For potential bus routes, use a 13.5m bus model.

In non-residential developments, it may be necessary to cater for 15.5m long articulated vehicles or 18m long draw-bar trailers.

Where there is no adjacent footway, turning areas should be provided with a 2m wide verge or margin to allow for any overhang of vehicle bodies when manoeuvring.

The layout of a development should be designed to discourage casual parking in turning areas. This may be achieved by either locating turning circles well clear of frontage development or arranging that premises and designated parking bays take access via the turning area (see the figure below).

In residential areas the use of less formal shapes for turning heads may be acceptable, but the shape should still incorporate the basic turning head dimensions (see Figure 6).

Diagram of turning areas with dimensions

Turning areas









Residential development








Non-residential development








3.2.2 Fire Fighting

The width of emergency vehicle routes and their proximity to buildings is detailed in Building Standards (Scotland) Regulations. This document specifies a minimum width of 3.7m between kerbs.

3.2.3 Refuse Collection

In accordance with Building Standards (Scotland) Regulations, it should be easy to take household waste containers to a collection point adjacent to the public road suitable for emptying or removal by the Waste Collection Authority i.e. there should be no steps along the route, and the distance should be reasonable. The Waste Collection Authority may designate a collection point which ensures that multiple waste containers are unlikely to be left clustered on the footway.

Note: These webpages are for reference by developers of housing and employment sites in East Lothian. 
They provide guidance on transport infrastructure against which Planning Applications will be assessed 
and evaluated, and set out East Lothian Council's procedures regarding the construction and adoption of 
new roads in accordance with current legislation. 
These pages supersede all previous versions of our Standards for Development Roads document. 

01/07/2023 Document release