Scottish Government making a mockery of local planning
Yesterday’s announcement that North Lanarkshire Council has failed in its bid to block the construction of a pyrolysis energy-from-waste facility at Carnbroe, Coatbridge, is just the latest example of the Scottish Government ignoring the wishes of local people and undermining the authority of local councils.
North Lanarkshire residents had made their feelings about the pyrolysis plant perfectly clear, with a petition against the Shore Energy proposals gathering 4000 signatures.
The Council took those views into acount when it rejected planning permission, only to see its decision overturned on appeal by a government reporter. To its credit, the Council launched its own appeal against the government reporter at the Court of Session. This has now failed, opening the way for the construction of the plant.
Government interference in matters rightly delegated to local councils is becoming a real problem, especially in North Lanarkshire. Only recently, it was announced that the Council’s decision to reject planning permission to a waste facility at Drumshangie, near Shotts, has also been overturned by a Scottish Government reporter.
It seems that, if an applicant has sufficient funds to make an appeal, the Scottish Government reporter can be relied upon to take a sympathetic view, especially where waste management facilities are concerned. Interestingly, the reporter cited the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Target as a key factor in his decision, implying that meeting this target superceded the impact of the plant on the health and quality of life of local residents.
What is the point of councils having control over local planning decisions when the Scottish Government treats their verdicts with such flagrant disregard? Or are we to understand that the decisions of local government are permissable so long as they do not interfere with the plans and priorities of national government?
I understand that local campaigners have called upon the Scottish Government to review the decision. It will be interesting to see whether it does so.