Leading environmental charities have urged the Scottish Government to change its current review of permitted development rights (that allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application) to ensure the legislation is fit to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises facing Scotland.
In their response to the consultation on ‘Proposed Programme for Reviewing and Extending Permitted Development Rights in Scotland’ Scottish Environment LINK have welcomed proposals that give permitted development rights for several new types of low-carbon and biodiversity-friendly infrastructure, such as habitat ponds and peatland restoration, but say that these positive gains will have no impact unless other climate damaging developments are reviewed.
Currently permitted developments allow certain developments which can result in high levels of emissions and damage sensitive habitats and landscapes, such as airport developments or hilltracks. Scottish Environment LINK believe these damaging developments should be open to scrutiny in order to ensure they are not harming our environment and preventing Scotland from meeting its net-zero emissions targets. Climate damaging developments cancel out the benefits from other positive types now being given permitted development rights, such a peatland restoration and electric vehicle infrastructure.
Clare Symonds, Convener of the LINK Planning Group said ”planning plays a crucial role in helping us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and restoring biodiversity losses, but any moves towards deregulating planning needs careful consideration. We do not want to be in a situation where the benefits of positive developments such as peatland restoration are negated by climate damaging developments also being given automatic planning permission. Developments that contribute to greenhouse gases or that reduce biodiversity should be open to public scrutiny and question. In a similar vein we also don’t want a ridiculous situation where the planning system gives developments such as airport operational buildings automatic permission to be built but requires an application for planning permission for a bird hide”.
LINK’s response to the PDR consultation can be read here.
The Scottish Government’s consultation document is available here.
For more information contact:
Vhairi Tollan, Advocacy Manager,