The SNP group are keen to see a resolution of this matter, and so have chosen to write directly to the minister, while the administration decide what, if any, action they are going to take.
26th February 2013.
IMPLICATIONS OF SCOTTISH MINISTERS DECISION TO REFUSE CONSENT TO ERECT 2 WIND TURBINES AT GREAT BERNERA, ISLE OF LEWIS.
I write to express my concern regarding the above decision and also seek clarity on the implications for future development.
I understand the referral of this application to Scottish Ministers is through Article 15(1)(j)(v), Town and Country Planning (General Development Proceedure) (Scotland) Order 1992. This relates specifically to development which may affect the site of a scheduled monument.
Is the site of a scheduled monument considered to include the landscape views from a particular monument and to what what extent? If it does, this decision effectively sterilises from development huge tracts of land in the viscinity of any such monument. A matter for serious concern.
The Reporter to Scottish Ministers appears to consider a “buffer zone” exists, presumable from a statement from a planning officer that it should exist. Is it confirmed that a buffer zone effectively now does exist as direct result of the decision, even if such might not appear in a local plan? The ad hoc imposition of buffer zones are a cause for grave concern.
This application was granted consent by the local authority and referred to Scottish Ministers solely because Historic Scotland objected, even though I am aware of no such concerns during consultation on the Local Plan. Should a similar, wholely separate application be made, it is reasonable to believe the local authority might again grant consent, should HS not object the development would proceed. The unfairness of a system which makes this possible is difficult to comprehend.
I would be obliged for your considered view on these concerns.