Publication - Consultation analysis

Regulation of felling and restocking: consultation response analysis

Published: 18 Dec 2018
Directorate:
Environment and Forestry Directorate
Part of:
Economy
ISBN:
9781787814707

Analysis of responses to the public consultation on proposals for the regulation of felling and restocking.

41 page PDF

821.2 kB

41 page PDF

821.2 kB

Contents
Regulation of felling and restocking: consultation response analysis
6. Appeals

41 page PDF

821.2 kB

6. Appeals

6.1 This chapter presents analysis of responses to the proposed appeals process put forward by the Scottish Government. It describes the consultation question, number of responses, overall level of support for the proposals and any suggested removals, amendments or additions. A selection of quotes that typify the views expressed by respondents in relation to the draft exemptions are incorporated within the chapter.

Overview

6.2 The consultation document set out the proposed two-step appeals process for decisions made under the 2018 Act:

  • Step 1 is an internal review, within Scottish Forestry.
  • Step 2 is an appeal to the Scottish Government Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA), with processes in line with planning appeals.

6.3 Questions 13-16 asked participants for their views on the proposed appeals process:

13. Do you agree with the proposals?

If you have answered no:

14. Would you like to see anything removed from the proposals?

15. Would you like to see adjustments made to the proposals?

16. Would you like to see anything added to the proposals?

Responses to the proposed appeals process

6.4 Just over half of the consultation participants responded to the questions on the appeals process. These responses were largely positive. The table below provides a quantitative summary of their responses:

Question

Yes

No

Not answered

Non-specific response

13: Do you agree with the proposals?

19

2

16

0

14: Would you like to see anything removed from the proposals?

2

6

27

2

15: Would you like to see adjustments made to the proposals?

4

8

25

0

16: Would you like to see anything added to the proposals?

3

8

26

0

6.5 A small group of 4 individuals and 1 organisation called for changes to aspects of the appeals process, typically asking for adjustments. Relevant comments were drawn from the following respondents:

  • There was 1 explanatory comment from the 2 respondents who answered ‘no’, to indicate they did not agree with the proposals.
  • 3 respondents who answered ‘yes’, to indicate they agreed with the proposals, made comments calling for specific changes to aspects of the proposed process.
  • 1 respondent did not provide a clear yes/no answer but made a relevant comment.

6.6 The group who did not advocate for changes comprised:

  • The 16 respondents who answered ‘yes’, to indicate they agreed with the proposals, and made no calls for change of any kind in their comment.
  • The 16 respondents who did not respond to question 13, given they did not communicate a preference for the Scottish Government to do anything other than is suggested in the proposals.

6.7 Four organisations (Scottish Land and Estates, Fisheries Management Scotland, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), and Galloway Fisheries Trust ) specifically stated that they agreed with the proposals. SEPA particularly welcomed the reference to the broader view on permissions to include environmental and sustainable forestry and/or land management considerations, noting the clear shift away from the more traditional timber production focus of previous legislation.

“We welcome the new two-stage appeals process that is aligned with planning appeals. [Scottish Land and Estates]

Items to remove

6.8 Two respondents said they would like to see items removed from the proposals but only one made a comment to explain why. This respondent, an individual, expressed concerns about the use of current Scottish Government Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) for appeals against the new proposed regime. The respondent suggested DPEA does not currently work within the regulatory regime of forestry consented tree felling, lacks the relevant expertise, and that it currently does not consider or require the UK Forestry Standard compliance as a material consideration in planning decisions.

Items to adjust

6.9 Four respondents called for adjustments to the proposed appeals process. They expressed a general concern about the level of expertise of those involved in the appeals process, and stated that more information is needed on which organisations will be called upon. For example, respondents suggested that certain organisations would need to be involved depending on the topic of an appeal - stating that this aspect of the process is not currently clear.

I think there should be a stipulation made for ecologist involvement in reviewing planning/felling applications and appeals [Individual]

Items to add

6.10 Three respondents called for additions to the proposed appeals process. One individual reiterated their call for specialist environmental involvement in appeals. RSPB Scotland expressed concerns about the lack of scope for appeals to be made by parties other than the appellant. Another called for adoption of good practice carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland with reference to public consultation and involvement of statutory consultees.

With regard to the appeal process, we note that there is no scope for appeals to be made by parties other than the appellant. We believe that there should be an equal right of appeal, in which interested parties (who may count as an “affected party”) can request a review of the decision-making process [RSPB Scotland]

Other issues raised

6.11 The timescales for processing appeals was commented upon by one respondent. They highlighted the long period of time between the appointment of a reporter and a decision, when appealing to the DPEA, describing the negative impact these delays can have on renewable energy projects.

6.12 One called for clear guidance about timeframes for appeals, expressing a hope that the Scottish Government will reduce the length of time that appellants must wait for a decision. They suggested this would help support renewable electricity developers and generators.


Contact

Email: Katherine Pauling