Scotland Planning Law
The UN Access to Justice in Environmental Matters Act was adopted on 25 June 1998 and then by the European Parliament Council in 2003 and finally ratified by the EC at the Århus Convention on 17 February 2005. These directives concerning access to environmental information and public participation in environmental decision-making (Arhus 2006). The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (White, 2003, p. 5) intended to address what is seen as inherent unfairness in the current legislation which allowed applicants in planning applications the right of appeal when an application is refused but allows no such right to objectors by parties other than the developer or local planning board when an application is approved. The reality of community involvement in planning came to Scotland as a statutory duty under the Local Government in Scotland Act (April) 2003 (Local Government 2003). In December of 2005, the Planning Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament (Begg 2006) to the disappointment of the Green Party and the Royal Society for the Preservation of Birds (RSPB). These organizations believe the Third Party Planning Rights of Appeal Bill would provide an important voice in decisions made in planning applications. A further dissertation of these groups’ concerns as well as the laws mentioned are included in the discussion.There is a broad public opinion that developers having a right of appeal whereas third parties do not are unfair. “Legal challenge to planning decisions is available through Section 237 of the 1997 Scottish Planning Act or by judicial review but neither can deal with the merits of a case and the process is expensive, time-consuming and inaccessible to many” (U’ren 2003, p. 2). People whose lives or property could possibly be adversely affected by a planning decision should be allowed the opportunity for appeal against a decision.