7. Recommendations for community councils, groups and members of the public
7.1 Community Councils receive weekly lists of planning applications from local authorities. By being pro-active, community councils can assist in communicating information to local residents on development proposals that may affect their area or property. A number of community councils have online websites covering their area. Information on particular developments within or affecting the community council area can be posted onto these websites with provisions for hyperlinks to applications and information on how to go about commenting on a planning application. Alternatively community groups can assist in communicating to members of the public within their areas to the PINS portal ( www.tellmescotland.gov.uk) which allows people to receive updates on advertised planning applications and other notices.
7.2 Weekly lists of new applications and, in many cases, planning registers of applications can be accessed readily through planning authority websites. Some authorities also have interactive maps on their webpages identifying the locations of wind turbines in their areas. Those individuals with particularly high levels of wind energy developments in their area may want to be proactive and regularly monitor what applications have been made in their area.
7.3 As defined by the Scottish Government's Code of Conduct for Community Councillors  community councils should be clear about the interests and/or people they are representing (and on what basis). Community councils can assist in the planning process by identifying clearly and at an early stage the issues which matter most to them in relation to a proposed development. They can also raise questions to the developer, local authority or others.
7.4 Once aware of a particular proposal, Community Councils and/or groups are encouraged to enter into a constructive dialogue with all other relevant parties. This can help to examine any issues and make available evidence being used to support their positions. They could assist, if appropriate to their local role and if resources would allow, in identifying the full range of local opinion about the development of local benefits. All parties should be clear that their engagement with these processes is in no way an indication of support for any application.
7.5 By expressing their interest in an application, Community Councils formalise their statutory consultee status which, depending on the scheme of delegation, may necessitate a decision by a local authority's planning committee.
7.6 Members of the public and community groups are encouraged to enter into constructive dialogue with developers and local authorities about proposed developments in order to examine any issues and make available evidence being used to support their positions. This could be aided by discussing matters with elected representatives, i.e. local councillors, MSPs and MPs, who can help to direct members of the public to appropriate information sources or potentially mediate wider community discussions or meetings.
Further support and useful information to communities can be obtained from the following sources: