You will remember last year's petition on hill tracks organized by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and sponsored by Peter Peacock MSP and Sarah Boyack MSP. The petition succeeded in that the issue was debated in the Scottish Parliament last summer. At the time, we were disappointed by the Minister's (Stewart Stevenson MSP) response that he would consider the issue as part of an overall review of the General Permitted Development Order, which allows construction of such tracks, if they are for agricultural purposes, without the need for planning permission. At the time, we thought that this was simply a device for kicking the issue into touch. However, the system appears to have delivered.
The Government announced in March that it will be reviewing the wider GPDO and has the matter up for public consultation with a closing date of 1st July. NEMT will be responding in detail.
Please visit the website at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/topics/built-environment/planning/news and, if possible, send in your own views. The more of us that comment, the more likely we are to be able to change this piece of legislation.
The following page includes a letter that each of the Hilltrack Petitioners received from Peter Peacock MSP, who is retiring as an MSP in the pending Scottish Election.
I am writing to tell you that the Scottish Government has, at long last, agreed to publish their consultation in relation to Permitted Development Rights for the construction of Hill Tracks.
Following the latest letter to the Minister he assured us that the paper would be published prior to dissolution of the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 22nd March. It is our understanding that the paperwill in fact be published on the 22nd itself and I am sure that this is in no small part thanks to the strength of the campaign and in particular the work done by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (along with other partners) to ensure that the issue of Hill Tracks remains on the government's agenda.
Once the consultation is published you will be able to access a copy of it on the MCofS website (www.mcofs.org.uk) and the Scottish Government's consultation page (www.scotland.gov.uk/consultations/current) where it will be listed as a consultation relating to the General Permitted Development Order.
I would like to encourage as many people as possible to make their views known to the government and to demonstrate the strength of feeling that exists on this issue. With election season upon us there is also an opportunity to seek the views of candidates and to petition them to support greater regulation of Hill Tracks in Scotland.
You may be aware that I am retiring as an MSP at this election and so this will be the last email you will receive from me. I would like to thank you for your support in this campaign and I will be doing my utmost to ensure that my colleagues both locally and nationally continue to champion this most worthwhile of causes.
Peter Peacock MSP
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