Scots denied say in planning process, says NGO
The Scottish public will be denied the opportunity to comment on environmentally damaging proposals after Scottish authorities failed to include this as a formal right in the new planning bill, environmentalists fear.Scotland's Planning Bill in its present form will allow for controversial developments to be forced through regardless of public opinion, Friends of the Earth said commenting on a report by a Scottish Parliament committee.
FOE Scotland chief executive Duncan McLaren said: "The committee has made a welcome call for increased resources and improved guidance, but without formal rights for community involvement at all levels of the planning system, the Committee has failed to strengthen the 'weakest link', and cannot guarantee that participation will be improved."
"Without a formal examination in public of the National Planning Framework, there remains a risk that future Ministers will be able to abuse the process, to bulldoze through controversial and unnecessary developments - such as waste incinerators or motorway extensions.
"For Scotland's most important planning document, cursory consultation and political scrutiny are not good enough," he said.
Friends of the Earth welcomed the committee's decision to include the duty to contribute to sustainable development in the planning framework, but said that this duty should apply to all planning proposals.
More details on the Scottish planning bill can be found at href=http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/communities/05_Events.htm>here.