Planning Circular 2/2017: Town and country planning (fees for monitoring surface coal mining sites) (Scotland) regulations 2017

Planning circular 2/2017 providing guidance on the regulations relating to the fees for monitoring surface coal mining.

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Supportive reasons for a reduction in number of site visits required

18. Section 75D of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (as amended by the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006) introduced provisions relating to good neighbour agreements ( GNA). These are voluntary agreements entered into by operators and community bodies such as a community council [5] . Although GNA do not remove the need for effective monitoring of planning conditions they can be considered as relevant when setting the number of annual visits and be used to reaffirm the operator's obligations in relation to the community and to ensure that local people have an on-going role in site activities.

19. GNA are consistent with the Scottish Government's desire for engagement between communities and operators; delivering higher environmental standards; and providing communities with the capacity to resolve local issues. In such circumstances, good neighbour agreements may be able to provide local communities with a transparent and accountable route that gives important reassurances that site activities comply with planning permissions.

20. Many operators belong to trade associations, which require their members to adhere to Environmental Codes of Practice. Many larger minerals companies also operate Environmental Management Schemes both for their organisations and for individual operations for example ISO 14001. Accreditation with schemes such as these should be considered a relevant factor when agreeing the number of annual monitoring visits. The Scottish Government is supportive of such initiatives.


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