Compulsory purchase orders and acquiring authorities: guidance on how Scottish Ministers consider CPOs

CPOGNAA/004 Fourth in a series of guidance notes intended to provide information for acquiring authorities with no, or limited experience of, compulsory purchase orders (CPOs). This contains guidance on how Scottish ministers consider CPOs.

6. Scottish Ministers' Decision

6.1. Scottish Ministers will consider all aspects of the case, including (where appropriate) the reporter's conclusions and recommendations. They may then either:

  • Decide to confirm the CPO as presented by the Acquiring Authority;
  • Decide to confirm the CPO with modifications; or
  • Refuse to confirm the CPO.

6.2. The Scottish Government will write to the Acquiring Authority to inform them of the decision and the reasons why Scottish Ministers have reached that decision.

6.3. The Scottish Government will send a copy of this letter to everyone who maintained an objection to the Order whether they were represented at the Inquiry/Hearing or not.

Confirmed Orders

6.4. In circumstances where an Order is confirmed (including those confirmed with modifications) the Acquiring Authority must publish notice of the confirmation and serve notice of the confirmation on everyone that it served with the notice of making of the order, as soon as is practicably possible.

6.5. The wording of this notice is prescribed by regulations and can be found in the Compulsory Purchase of Land (Scotland) Regulations 2003 found at

6.6. The Acquiring Authority should notify the relevant Scottish Government Lead officer once it has done this.

Modification of Orders

6.7. Scottish Ministers may in certain circumstances confirm an order with modifications. However, the power of modification is used sparingly and will not be used to re-write CPOs extensively. There is no need to modify an Order solely to show a change of ownership where the Acquiring Authority has identified a relevant interest or interests after submitting the CPO.

6.8. Some minor mistakes or changes to circumstances can be corrected through the use of modifications, but not significant matters. An example of a possible modification would be to remove land included in the Order, which is no longer required to be included, as this has been acquired voluntarily. There is no scope for the Scottish Ministers to add to, or substitute, the statutory purpose(s) for which an Order was made or to add additional land to an order.

6.9. If it becomes apparent to an Acquiring Authority that it may wish Scottish Ministers to amend a CPO by modification the Acquiring Authority should write to Scottish Ministers as soon as possible, setting out the proposed changes and the reasons for seeking these. This will only be undertaken in exceptional circumstances and where the modifications will not significantly change the nature of the CPO.

6.10. This letter should be copied to each statutory objector, any other person who may be entitled to appear at the Inquiry or Hearing, and to any other interested persons who seem to be directly affected by the matters that might be subject to modification.

6.11. Where such potential modifications have been identified before the Inquiry or Hearing is held, the Reporter will normally wish to provide an opportunity for them to be debated.

Unconfirmed Orders

6.12. Unconfirmed Orders will result in the compulsory purchase of the land not being authorised. Scottish Ministers will explain their decision to all affected parties.

6.13. Acquiring Authorities will not be authorised to purchase the land compulsorily under that particular Order. However, they should consider the reasons for non-confirmation, and decide whether or not they wish to pursue a new Order or seek alternative resolutions to acquire the land.

CPOs promoted by Scottish Ministers

CPOs promoted by Scottish Ministers (for example, by Transport Scotland) are not submitted to Scottish Ministers for consideration. Instead, a draft CPO is published for formal consultation. Following an objection period all representations and objections received are considered and a Public Local Inquiry may be organised to hear them and consider the supporting evidence. The Reporter will then submit a report with recommendations to Scottish Ministers, who will decide whether or not to proceed with the making of the CPO. If they decide to proceed, the publication of the final 'made' CPO is equivalent to the confirmation of a CPO promoted by another body.



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