Friday, 9 July 2010

FEES Shake up?

Planning Daily reports:

The Scottish Government has launched a consultation into the future of planning system.

The relevant Scottish Government web page tells us:

This consultation seeks views on how the planning service can be more effectively resourced and focused on quality of service. The paper also seeks views on options for amending the fee structure for planning applications.

The Ministerial Foreword states:

Planning was identified in the Economic Recovery Plan as one of the key drivers to build economic success. Over the past two years, Scotland's planning system has undergone substantial reform. Its success is contingent on both the public and private sectors fully playing their part in supporting new investment and unlocking Scotland's economic potential. Changes in culture, greater emphasis on facilitating development and in securing sustainable economic growth remain crucial.

The Scottish Government is working with COSLA, local authorities, key agencies and the development industry to ensure we have a modern, future-facing planning system which is properly resourced in order to deliver quality outcomes.

This consultation looks at how planning can be resourced more effectively in the context of public sector constraints and slower rates of development. It explores alternative delivery options and proposes fee structures that are more proportionate in the longer term.

Table 1 of the consultation document gives Comparisons of Fees between Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and makes illuminating reading. A little further into the PDF on page 8 you can find mention of Highland Council:

Case Study - Highland Council - Pre-Application Discussion

In January 2009, Highland Council launched its Pre-Application Advice Service ( PAAS). This is an initiative between Highland Council and agencies ( SNH, SEPA, Transport Scotland and the NHS). The process is initiated by the developer requesting a pre-application advice meeting, which are held every 4 weeks. Following each PAAS meeting, there is a three week period for attendees to form their response to the proposal. The Council collates the individual responses into a single Pre-Application Advice Pack which is issued to the developer within 4 weeks of the meeting.

The PAAS programme has dealt with over 30 major developments and its success has been recognised through the award of the Highland Council's 2009 Award for Contribution to the Local Economy 11. Highland Council have also recently won the Homes for Scotland Key Agency Working Award for their pre-application service.

The Scottish Government is inviting written responses to this consultation paper by Friday 15 October 2010.

I am so looking forward to reading all the responses to this consultation, and maybe even putting in a few words of my own.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

What a load of rubbish!

Planning Daily reports:

Britain could run out of landfill space in less than eight years' time, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned.

Analysis by the LGA shows households in the UK sends more than 18.8million tonnes of rubbish to landfill every year – 2 million more tonnes than any other country in the European Union

For full item click here

In a move to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill The Highland Council will be running a new 6 month trial of new waste collections in Skye and Lochalsh. During the next few weeks all residents will receive a card in the post giving details of the new service which starts on the 6th September.

The current recycling rate in The Highland Council area is currently 35% which is a massive improvement on the 2002 level of less than 5% but the target is to increase this to 40% by the end of 2010. The Scottish Government has set a target of 70% of all waste to be recycled by 2025. Similar changes to waste collections have already been adopted by 21 out of 32 Councils in Scotland. See Press Release on THC web site

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Movers and Shakers

What has sparked the following comment:

"Every council must be aware of influence from powerful local movers and shakers using the planning system to promote or object to development proposals."

Click here to find out

Sunday, 4 July 2010

On your bike

Applying for a bus pass and buying a folding bike are among methods some of Highland's 80 councillors are using to reduce their travel costs.

Thus reported BBC Scotland news on Friday

But the article also notes that, the geography of the Highlands has challenged several councillors' efforts and that there are issues surrounding travel by public transport.