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- Sept.30.2018: Second battle of Culloden rages as locals clash with developers. The site where Jacobite forces made their last stand is now threatened by house builders. Planning laws allow for cash-rich developers to appeal decisions, but local objectors have no such rights. Thus any party intent on seeking to exploit Scotland’s natural beauty or vivid history for profit can appeal against a decision while those affected by it cannot. Campaigners are urging MSPs to use a new planning bill currently going through Holyrood to redress fundamental inequalities in the planning system between developers and communities. The Scottish parliament’s local government and communities committee has been assessing amendments to the bill, including one that would establish a crucial right of appeal for communities. The vote on equal rights of appeal will be taken on Oct.31. The Scottish group Planning Democracy, which is leading the campaign for equal rights of appeal, is calling for MSPs to support amendments to the bill which would give communities a right to appeal controversial planning decisions. Kevin McKenna, The Guardian.
- Sept.04.2018: Government faces court action over 'illegal' planning policy. Friends of the Earth says revised national planning policy makes it ‘virtually impossible’ for councils to refuse fracking schemes. The revised National Planning Policy Framework, published in July, informs local policies across England, from planning permission to town and country planning and land use. It has significant weight in development decisions, from the amount and location of built development to the way environmental impacts are assessed, and also deals with policies concerning air pollution, energy generation, water management and biodiversity. A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is required by EU law for public plans relating to land use and planning, among other things. It is required wherever policies are likely to have a significant impact on the environment. Friends of the Earth wants to force the government to undertake an SEA, consult the public and modify the framework based on those findings. The NGO has filed a claim at the high court, saying the NPPF makes it “virtually impossible” for councils to refuse local fracking schemes, fails to rule out future coal developments, and introduces harsh new rules for wind energy schemes. It argues it is impossible to gauge the environmental impact of such policies without a strategic assessment. William Rundle, head of legal at Friends of the Earth, said the group “is concerned that the govt pays lip service to leaving the environment in a better state for future generations but in reality does the opposite. Giving the green light to climate-wrecking Heathrow expansion and publishing a new national framework for development in England without any assessment of its major environmental implications begs the question of what happened to good governance. Concerns have been raised about the contents of the NPPF, from its failing to rule out building on green belts or future coal developments, to imposing strict rules on applications to build wind turbines. The Campaign to Protect Rural England warns the NPPF treats land as a commodity, rather than a “finite and precious resource” and could encourage property development based on property price speculation and developer profit. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government said: "Word Salad". Laura Laker, The Guardian.