Observations of the Policy Group of the Scotland Region of the Institute of Logistics and Transport (ILT)
The Institute recognises the need for ordinary people to be engaged in the political process and they should have a real influence in decisions which affect their local communities. Our particular interest relates to transport and recognition that transport developments often have an impact well beyond their area of implementation. Local interests must therefore be considered alongside more widespread considerations and national social, economic and environmental effects. It should be recognised that there are many third party impacts beyond the area of implementation as well as within it. In addition local impacts are often embedded within the wider social, economic and environmental considerations.
Third party effects can therefore be everywhere and an appeal process which enabled individuals to frustrate a development having comprehensive widespread benefits or call into question a decision not to proceed with a proposal having wholly unacceptable local impact, is unlikely to be of advantage to the wider community. All individuals must of course be free to express their views at the relevant inquiry into such developments and there should be due regard of all such views before recommendations are formulated and decisions are reached by the appropriate decision making body. Where there are significant differences of opinion the decision making body should make clear in public the extent of such differences, the weight given to the different views expressed and the reasons for making a decision.
A core element of properly undertaken cost benefit appraisal methods is consideration of third party impacts which should ideally result in those benefiting from an initiative compensating those who are adversely affected. In practice this has been difficult to achieve and the proposed Bill probably reflects, at least in part a deficiency in the current appraisal and compensation system.
The Scottish Office view expressed in its consultation paper of November 2001 that there were sufficient avenues open to appeal and that further measures would create delays in planning application approval should therefore be balanced by the need to ensure that third party interests are properly identified through equity and accessibility audits and that these, crucially, inform the decisions reached. The process should be transparent and if, for example, a third party community severance impact is identified this should be an implicit consideration when determining the compensation due.
In principle we accept that appellants may not represent the wider community and increased financial implications would result from third party appeals. Consequently, on balance we do not feel that introduction of a third party right to appeal (TPRA) would be justified providing all other safeguards are met as outlined.
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