1. 'Pre-actions' and their Purpose
1.1. This guidance uses the term 'pre-actions' to describe the set of actions and considerations that an Acquiring Authority should undertake prior to resolving to use, and then preparing, a Compulsory Purchase Order ( CPO).
1.2. Carrying out these actions before undertaking compulsory purchase can greatly assist an Acquiring Authority mitigate or fully address the concerns of land owners and communities and help discharge any concerns under the European Convention of Human Rights. As such, pre-actions should also improve transparency and accountability in a decision making process which may be subject to later legal challenge.
1.3. The suggested 'pre-actions' contained in sections 2-7 of this guidance note are activities that Scottish Ministers strongly encourage an Acquiring Authority to carry out to help them develop and prepare a proper and robust justification for the use of compulsory purchase or, conversely, to rule out the use of compulsory purchase where there is insufficient justification to support this. They can also speed up the process by pre-empting and addressing objections that may arise and resolving them by negotiation, thereby avoiding the need for, or simplifying any Hearing or Inquiry.
1.4. The evidence gathered, and the results and findings of the 'pre-actions' should be used to assist the Acquiring Authority justify its proposal for using a CPO and to prepare the 'statement of reasons' which accompanies a CPO submitted to the Scottish Government for determination.