The Scottish Government had planned to introduce The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Order 2014 as a Scottish Statutory Instrument, with effect from 15th December 2014. However, Cameron Buchanan MSP has successfully delayed its implementation until January 2015, pending further discussions with the Minister.
The SSI would require developers to make a prior notification application to the planning authority, before starting work to form or alter a private way in relation to agricultural or forestry operations.
The Scottish Government considers that the present system of permitted development rights does not provide adequate protection against inappropriate development, but this is not a view shared by all.
It has been pointed out that the Forestry Commission Scotland presently handle enquiries on forestry projects involving forest roads & tracks, who can demand an Environmental Impact Assessment before approving the project. It is widely considered that this system works and ensures the environment is adequately protected.
Adding another layer of administration could slow down operations and cost the industry substantially.
Commenting Cameron Buchanan MSP said:
“These plans look like another example of the SNP looking to intervene where it is neither necessary nor useful.
“The present system with permitted development rights is working – private operators are able to develop tracks where they are needed whilst adhering to guidelines that protect the environment.
“Development of tracks for agricultural and forestry operations – particularly forestry - is already controlled by operators and organisations responsibly. In doing so, they adequately protect the environment whilst making key contributions to the rural economy.
“What they don’t need is ever-increasing intervention and delay from bureaucrats that could cost time, money and missed market opportunities. This is why I secured a delay in the SSI’s implementation with the aim that more reasonable discussion can be had in Parliament.
“The SNP may think their plan is good politics, but it is not good government.