04/05/2013
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RSPB Scotland welcomes Scottish development proposals

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The waders, wildfowl and mudflats at Hunterston are probably safe for the meantime. Photo: SeaDave (commons.wikimedia.org).
The waders, wildfowl and mudflats at Hunterston are probably safe for the meantime. Photo: SeaDave (commons.wikimedia.org).
RSPB Scotland has today broadly welcomed Scottish government proposals for how they believe Scotland should be developed over the next 20-25 years. 

Two key documents for consultation have been published. The first the National Planning Framework Main Issues Report sets out a range of options for how different parts of Scotland could be developed.  The second, a draft Scottish Planning Policy, includes planning policies on specific topics such as environmental protection, housing and renewable energy.

The charity was pleased to see that Scottish Ministers have confirmed that a coal-fired power station at Hunterston, Ayrshire, would not be included.  The last National Planning Framework, published in 2009, included a number of controversial proposals including new electricity grid upgrades and a new coal fired power station at Hunterston in Ayrshire, which attracted over 20,000 objections before it was eventually abandoned by the developer last year, after a campaign by RSPB Scotland and others. 

Proposals to retain a central Scotland 'Green Network' are also welcome – this could significantly benefit people and wildlife across central Scotland, and the RSPB are already working with a range of partners to deliver significant benefits on a landscape scale. However, it is very disappointing that the Scottish government has not taken up the suggestion made by the charity and the Scottish Wildlife Trust that the central Scotland green network approach be broadened out to the rest of Scotland through a national ecological network. This is a missed opportunity to inspire a legacy from the year of natural Scotland. 

Proposals to strengthen strategic frameworks for the development of onshore wind farms are also welcomed, something RSPB Scotland have been calling for, for a number of years.

Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, said: “RSPB Scotland wants a strong and clear planning system that protects and nurtures Scotland’s important natural heritage. Poor quality development can be a huge threat to wildlife so we particularly welcome the continued protection given to our most important wildlife sites. Onshore wind can pose particular problems for wildlife if poorly sited, so we welcome the government’s proposals to provide a better strategic steer to developers, directing projects away from the most sensitive sites.”

The Scottish government are encouraging organisations and members of the public to respond with comments before Tuesday 23 July 2013. Consultation documents are available here.
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