SLE welcomes government review of rural planning policy

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Press Release

A review of rural planning legislation to be undertaken by the Scottish Government has been welcomed by rural business organisation, Scottish Land & Estates.

In its announcement, the government has indicated that the need for planning permission could be removed for certain types of rural developments to help tackle depopulation and support local economies.

Gavin Mowat, Policy Adviser at Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Unique challenges exist in our rural areas and all too often, the planning system appears to be focused on regulation rather than delivering positive solutions to those issues. The government’s announcement is very welcome news in this regard, providing attention on how planning policy can help deliver thriving rural communities.

“Removing the need for planning permission for many types of development, such as converting agricultural buildings to residential use, can not only help to address rural depopulation but also provide a boost for businesses looking to diversify their existing assets.

“Similarly, a relaxation of rules around micro-renewables such as solar panels, biomass and free-standing wind turbines has the ability to not only boost the rural economy but also assist the Scottish Government in meeting its ambitious environmental targets to address the global climate emergency.

“We’re delighted that government is recognising the obstacles faced by rural areas and the right policy changes can help empower communities to address those challenges. We hope to see this theme continue as the National Planning Framework 4 is developed.