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Policy actions 3 of 3

Specific non-appeal planning casework

We deal with specific types of casework on behalf of Scottish Ministers. If you need information on any of these you should contact the body promoting the order, such as the local council or Transport Scotland.

Electricity Act cases

Applications to construct or extend an electricity generating station (including an onshore wind farm) with a capacity of more than 50 megawatts are made to Scottish Ministers under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989. Scottish Ministers also deal with applications to construct overhead electric power lines (section 37) and, where these cannot be agreed, applications for any necessary wayleaves over land for the purpose of constructing or maintaining access to the power lines.

Planning authorities, statutory consultees and the public have the right to object to these types of applications. If there are any unresolved objections, ministers may, and in some cases must, hold an inquiry. In this case we will appoint a reporter. The reporter will make a recommendation to ministers. The minister will make the final decision on the application. The code of practice sets out the procedures to follow in these cases.

Core Path Plans

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 established the right of responsible access on or over most land in Scotland, including inland water. To accommodate these rights, local councils must prepare a plan for pathways in their area, or a Core Paths Plan, which the public have a right to object to. If unresolved, the council will submit the plan to ministers, who in turn will appoint our reporters to examine the plans in detail and recommend whether ministers should change the plans.

We have produced guidance on the process of how to make an objection to a Core Path Plan.

Compulsory Purchase and other orders

Public bodies usually buy property that they need for projects such as road construction, housing developments or town centre regeneration by reaching agreement with the owners. However, various public bodies such as the Scottish Government, local authorities and infrastructure providers have legal powers which allow them to buy property compulsorily in certain circumstances using a Compulsory Purchase Order(CPO).

Other orders

A public body may require authority to proceed with a transport or infrastructure project such as the construction of a new road, railway, tram or canal. The body may also need to acquire land for the project in which case it will promote a CPO if it cannot reach agreement with the owner of the land needed for the project.

Similarly, local authorities have the power to make orders regulating road safety, for example, by designating a road as one way. Planning authorities have the power to make orders stopping up roads, footpaths or rights of way.

In each of these cases a copy of the proposed order describing the works must be published and people affected by the proposal have the pportunity to object or make representations about it. If these objections cannot be resolved then the order must be submitted to Scottish Ministers who will appoint a planning and environmental appeals reporter to hold a hearing or public local inquiry. The reporter will consider the case for and against the making of the order and will make a recommendation to Scottish Ministers who will decide whether or not to confirm it.

A similar procedure applies to orders for the construction or improvement of ports and harbours.