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Publication - Consultation Responses

Planning review position statement: analysis of responses

Published: 6 Oct 2017
Part of:
Building, planning and design, Research
ISBN:
9781788512695

Analysis of responses to the Scottish Government's Position Statement following the consultation on Places, People and Planning.

97 page PDF

1.8MB

97 page PDF

1.8MB

Contents
Planning review position statement: analysis of responses
5. SEA Review Questions

97 page PDF

1.8MB

5. SEA Review Questions

Question 2: What are your views on the accuracy and scope of the information used to describe the SEA environmental baseline set out in the Environmental Report?

Areas of support/agreement

Civil society respondents broadly supported the four key areas of change identified in the Consultation. The scope appeared to be comprehensive and separating the SEA into two stages, strategic and indirect environmental effects, was considered to be a sensible approach.

Planning and policy respondents noted the high-level nature of the proposals, and given this agree that the detail in the environmental baseline seems appropriate. Additionally, they noted that the scope of the information used to describe the SEA environmental baseline to be accurate and capture the key environmental issues across Scotland.

Concerns expressed

Only civil society respondents noted concerns, which were around the non-Technical Summary not being simple and clear enough to fully understand the consequences of the specific proposals.

More information/clarifications

Civil society respondents would like clarity on the following issues:

  • Need clarity on the Wild Land Areas; these must be explicitly identified alongside National Parks and National Scenic Areas.
  • Clarity about whether it will be specified clearly in the planning bill that SEA will have at least as important a role in SPZs as in other planning matters
  • More information on what the environmental implications of removing supplementary planning guidance will be.
  • More information on what it meant by "High-quality homes."

Ideas and additional thoughts

Civil society respondents noted that the SEA/ HRA provide important checks and these should be used to ensure that environmental policies in the NPF/ SPP are not weakened by the drive to improve development delivery.

From planning and policy respondents, there was a thought on archaeological assets, that majority of which are undesignated, and these should be identified and the Historic Environment Records ( HERs) should be the key source of information and advice on Scotland's historic environment assets and how to address the issues they raise in the planning system.

Question 3: What are your views on the predicted environmental effects as set out in the Environmental Report?

Areas of support/agreement

Civil society respondents agreed that the future Planning Bill will unlikely have significant direct environmental effects due to the fact it is expected to make largely procedural changes.

Planning and policy respondents also agreed that the Planning Review will unlikely cause direct Environmental impact, per section 3 of the Paper.

Concerns expressed

Civil society respondents did not agree with the removal of restrictions in S.54 of the Planning Act and S.37 of the EIA regulations.

Planning and policy respondents noted that the removal of supplementary guidance will remove a mechanism for environmental scrutiny that is currently available, which was a concern for landscape matters. There was also disappointment expressed that implications for statutory environmental assessment are not embedded fully into the plan making process. Concerns were also raised regarding the 10-year LDP may have a negative effect on the environment due to a lack of opportunities to address environmental change over the 10-year period.

The planning and policy sector also disagreed that no significant environmental impacts are likely to arise from potential changes to 'Simplified Planning Zones'.

More information/clarifications

Planning and policy respondents would like clarification as to who is responsible for carrying out SEA of the Local Place Plans and where Local Place Plans sit in the lifecycle of the LDP.

Ideas and additional thoughts

Civil society respondents suggested combining and integrating Health Impact Assessments ( HIA) within the proposed changes will benefit both environmental and population health.

Planning and policy noted that the extension of Permitted Development Rights, the rebranding of SPZ and removal of certain planning and EIA restrictions will have an environmental impact and thus, mitigation and monitoring should be employed to address the issues raised as well from those arising from moving to a 10-year plan cycle. Additional impacts could arise at local level from the method of development and infrastructure being delivered, and that these should be assessed by local authorities during the plan-making process.

Question 4: What are your views on the findings of the SEA and the proposals for mitigation and monitoring of the environmental effects set out in the Environmental Report?

Areas of support/agreement

Planning and policy respondents agreed with the findings of the SEA and the proposals for mitigation and monitoring, in particular the recommendations for specific guidance and alignment of SEA and HRA procedures.

Concerns expressed

Civil society respondents were concerned that that with the pressure on delivery, individual developments with a requirement of an EIA will still go through the planning process and damage the landscape, or other natural heritage assets.

Planning and policy respondents were concerned that the removal of supplementary guidance applies increased pressure at the 'gatecheck' stage of the planning process. Not getting it right at this stage will have negative impacts further down the line.

More information/clarifications

Civil society respondents would like more guidance on how areas where environmental effects such as air quality are already an existing priority could be addressed and improved by changes to the planning system and planning process.

Planning and policy respondents request clarifications on how consideration of indirect effects from the potential extension of PDR will be taken forward. Additionally, further clarification on how SPZ and permitted development rights will both protect and enhance the Historic Environment.

Ideas and additional thoughts

Civil society respondents suggested monitoring the performance of the amended planning system will be particularly important as will be the enforcement of SEA/ HRA findings. This must also assess whether or not there is any weakening of environmental policies due to the drive for enhanced delivery of development. Further research could be undertaken on the potential impact upon people, wildlife and natural environment (flora and fauna) that could come with future changes and developments, and how this could be robustly measured and monitored.

Planning and policy respondents noted that positive or negative effects might arise from the changes in permitted development rights and Simplified Planning Zones. These should be added to the schedule of mitigation, as a way of highlighting that further assessment may be required, given that this will remain uncertain until specific measures are brought forward.

Business respondents similarly noted that the predicted environmental effects set out in the Environmental Report have potential for both positive and negative effects. Any changes must be carefully designed to achieve a more efficient system that delivers better outcomes.


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