The observations below are those of members of The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport(UK) Scottish Policy Group who have contributed to the discussion on Modernising the Planning System.
The proposed approach is generally supported. Rejection of the proposition that there should be rejection of "Third Party Rights of Appeal" is particularly welcomed.
The reasons for more public involvement at an earlier stage in the planning process are understood but care should be taken that such liaison does not increase delays in reaching decisions. In this regard avoiding the "approval in principle" stage is likely to be beneficial but care should be taken to ensure planning authorities respond timeously to consultation on proposals at an early stage in their development. Recognition of the essential requirement that development plans must be kept up to date is welcomed and there must be a discipline to ensure this together with wide public dissemination. Where approvals are at variance with development plans or with professional advice, e.g. with respect to the effects of climate change, full details of the reasons for the decision should be made available to all interested parties.
The proposed "heirarchy" of developments is supported with the Executive taking a close and it is hoped earlier interest in the progress of national and major developments. The reduced comparative consideration of minor proposals is sensible.
The proposal for Strategic Environmental Assessments is welcomed recognising the process will be participative. Urgent attention should be given to ensuring that the techniques and consultation processes are developed in a way which obtains the confidence of all relevant parties, does not impose unnecessary delays and ensures that undue attention is not given to relatively minor or frivolous aspects.
A particular aspect related to transport is that the areas for City/Region Strategic Development Plans differ from those selected for Regional Transport Partnerships. This could lead to confusion, additional bureauocracy and possible conflicts. Care is required at this stage in developing the new arrangements to ensure future inter-action is efficient, cost effective and transparent. Liaison arrangements with the "National Transport Agency" also need to be established at an early date for similar reasons.
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