31. Effective engagement with the public can lead to better plans, better decisions and more satisfactory outcomes and can help to avoid delays in the planning process. It also improves confidence in the fairness of the planning system. The Scottish Government expects engagement with the public to be meaningful and to occur from the earliest stages in the planning process to enable community views to be reflected in development plans and development proposals. Minimum requirements for consultation and engagement in the planning system are established through legislation 8. Advice on community engagement in the planning system, linked to the National Standards for Community Engagement 9, is provided in PAN 81 Community Engagement.
32. Everyone has the right to comment on any planning application which is being considered by a planning authority. Legitimate public concern or support expressed on a relevant planning matter should be a consideration in planning decisions. Planning authorities must ensure that communities are given the opportunity to get involved in the preparation of development plans. Planning authorities and developers should ensure appropriate and proportionate steps are taken to engage with communities when planning policies and guidance are being developed, when development proposals are being formed and when applications for planning permission are made. Individuals and community groups should ensure that they focus on planning issues and utilise available opportunities for engaging constructively with developers and planning authorities. Close working with communities can help to identify and overcome sensitivities or concerns associated with new development. Liaison committees can have a role in offering communities greater involvement in the operation of mineral extraction sites and other similar developments.