SLE & NFUS call for PDR extension

Press Release
sle nfu

By extending permitted development rights (PDR), rural Scotland can benefit from staycations and curb dirty camping.

This was the message from landowners, land managers and farmers as Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) and The National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) wrote to John McNairney, The Chief Planner at the Scottish Government. 

Planning controls have been relaxed in response to the pandemic lockdown, with a policy of non-enforcement in place towards land managers and farmers using land for non-agriculture purposes for more than the statutory 28 days.

While SLE and NFUS welcome this move, they are calling for the Scottish Government to follow the examples set in England and Wales and extend permitted development rights to 56 days until the end of the year. This, they say, would give greater security to land businesses and farms who are diversifying to get through difficult economic times.

Gavin Mowat, SLE Policy Adviser said:

“Dirty camping is more than just an eyesore. It can have serious social, economic and environmental implications.

“During the pandemic land managers and farmers have been able to ameliorate the impacts of dirty camping by setting aside parts of their holdings to allow for visitors to camp safely and in a way that respects nature.

“In doing so they have provided a service for those looking to take a staycation and brought in much needed capital to the rural economy.

“By extending permitted development rights to 56 days until the end of the year the Government can offer much needed certainty and security. Without this extension, there is a concern that the policy of non-enforcement could end abruptly and have serious repercussions for our members ability to plan for a busy summer period.”

Gemma Cooper, Head of Policy at NFUS said:

‘There has been a fantastic multi-agency approach to the problems that farmers and landowners have faced because of access issues.  What we need now, is to underpin this with practical actions that will further allow them to work to mitigate the issues they are experiencing.

‘Wild camping has been a real problem in some areas and relaxation of planning to help farmers and landowners be part of the solution to this issue would be welcomed. The relaxation proposed by SLE and NFUS ahead of summer is timely and it is our hope that the Chief Planner can work with us in this regard.”