John Muir Trust backs call by Holyrood MPs for ‘third-party’ appeal rights in controversial wind farm planning bids

John Muir Trust Wild Land: Photo Kevin Lelland
John Muir Trust Wild Land: Photo Kevin Lelland

Holyrood MPs have called for a number of changes to the new draft Planning Act drawn up by the Scot-Govt.

Chiefly, this includes a providing a new right of appeal in certain, limited circumstances to third parties – ie both legal and natural persons who are not directly party to a specific development application as either developer/ land-owner or as directly-affected neighbours/ residents.

MSPs on the local government committee say not enough is being done to soothe community frustrations over parts of the planning system – which frequently leaves both individual residents and/or local community groups and environmental bodies frustrated with both process and outcomes.

Introducing a new third-party right of appeal – even in limited circumstances, which are yet to be defined –  would be seen by many as a quasi-despotic state interference in the rights of land-owners to solely enjoy the ‘fruits’ of ownership, the long-established Roman law of ‘fructus’ which has been  the settled  Scottish Law of Property since The Enlightenment.

Helen McDade
Helen McDade

The John Muir Trust natural conservation body welcomed the ‘close and careful consideration’ given by MSPs from all parties on the Planning Bill.

Helen McDade, the Trust’s Head of Policy, said: “We’re delighted to note that the Committee has recommended to the Minister that the Bill incorporates a Purpose of Planning, recognising the role this can play in creating high quality places and to protect and enhance the environment and noting the evidence submitted by the Trust in this respect.

“We also warmly welcome the Committee’s recognition of long-standing calls by communities and campaigners for a fairer planning system that allows for Equal <third party> Rights of Appeal, and note the recommendation that the Scottish Government looks again at these issues before Stage 2 of the report.”

18 May 2018

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