Created in June 1962, bringing together the Secretary of State's functions relating to physical and environmental development in Scotland which were previously discharged by the Scottish Home Department and the Department of Health for Scotland.These functions included Town and Country Planning (including New Towns), Roads, Housing, Building Standards, Water and Sewerage, Clean Air (pollution), Local Government matters and Electricity.
Prior to 1962 the public health functions (water and sewerage, clean air, housing and building standards) were the responsibility of the Local Government Board for Scotland (1894-1919), transferred to the Scottish Board of Health (1919-1928) and then to the Department of Health for Scotland (1928-1962). The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1947 gave additional town and country planning policy work to the Department of Health for Scotland. The functions relating to industry and economic development were dealt with by the Scottish Home Department.
In 1973 the functions of regional development, electricity, highland and rural development, tourism, transport services and New Town Development Corporations were moved into the newly created Scottish Economic Planning Department but in September 1976, responsibility for transport services other than Peterhead Bay Harbour were transferred back to the Scottish Development Department. In 1991 the Scottish Development Department was re-named the Scottish Office Environment Department.
For further information see: Levitt, Ian 'The Origins of the Scottish Development Department, 1943-62', Scottish Affairs, Vol. 14, Winter 1996, pp. 42-63. ISSN 0966 0356