Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Ged Killen has criticised the SNP for voting with the Conservatives to block plans to reform the planning system following the campaign against proposals to erect an incinerator in Whitehill.
The Planning (Scotland) Bill was introduced in December 2017. It was passed by the Scottish Government on Thursday, June 20.
Mr Killen has slammed a series of “missed opportunities to radically reform the planning system” after a Scottish Labour bid to include a community right of appeal amendment was rejected.
In May, plans to build an incinerator on Whistleberry Road in Whitehill were scrapped after the developer withdrew its appeal to the Scottish Government.
Campaigners had fought against the proposals since 2013, with 7000 letters of objection and a petition with almost 3000 signatures being submitted to South Lanarkshire Council, and Mr Killen had hoped the inclusion of the amendment would have addressed the power imbalance between communities and developers.
Ged Killen MP said:
“The rejection of the community right of appeal amendment and reversal of key amendments which would have radically overhauled the Scottish planning system by a coalition of SNP and Tory MSPs was deeply disappointing and I believe represents a serious missed opportunity by the Scottish Government to empower communities and secure a sustainable future for the Scottish planning system.
“By reversing these key amendments, the Scottish Government has failed to rebalance power in the planning system, ensuring that developers will retain an enhanced position in decision making while local communities will be side-lined.
“As we have seen with the Whitehill incinerator, communities must fight tooth and nail against planning decisions which are weighted in favour of developers.
“While the campaign on the Whitehill incinerator was successful, I believe the Scottish Government should have learned the lessons of this case and sought to improve the positions of local communities by giving them an enhanced say.”
Mr Killen has written to Rutherglen MSP Clare Haughey, who opposed the incinerator plans, to ask for an explanation on how the Scottish Government will take into account the views of communities in the planning process.
“I am deeply disappointed that the Scottish Government sought to form an alliance with the Conservative party to block proposals from opposition parties to strengthen the role of local communities in the planning process. I believe that the Government’s course of action will be shown to be a serious misjudgement and missed opportunity.
“I call on Ms Haughey to set out how the Scottish Government seeks to listen and take into account the views of the community who will be let down by this course of action.”