This agreement sets out the respective roles of NatureScot and the National Park Authorities (NPAs) in all types of advisory casework that involves site-specific consultations from (a) third parties; or (b) NPAs in their planning authority or access authority roles. The purpose is to maximise efficiency and joined-up working, and to provide a clear and consistent service to our customers. This will help to deliver the Scottish Government’s planning reform agenda.
The role for NatureScot in this agreement is based on NatureScot’s Service Statement for Planning and Development, with changes as described below where justified by the natural heritage expertise available within the NPAs and to address roles in relation to the National Park designation. NatureScot’s role is advisory and it is not normally a decision-making authority in relation to casework (except for licensing), whereas the Cairngorms NPA is the determining authority for some development management (DM) and access cases and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs NPA is the determining authority for all DM cases. NatureScot’s function as a statutory consultee in the planning process is not affected by this agreement.
- NPAs and NatureScot, with others, share a responsibility for delivering National Park Partnership Plans and safeguarding the integrity of the National Parks and their special qualities.
- The NPAs and NatureScot will seek to avoid duplication when providing casework advice.
- NatureScot and the NPAs will lead on the aspects of advisory casework as follows:
NatureScot will lead on provision of advice concerning effects of a proposal on:
- European sites – (a) advice and comments on draft HRA’s prepared by NPA. (b) advice to competent authorities other than NPAs, in liaison with NPAs if required.
- Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
- Protected species, only in the circumstances outlined in NatureScot How and when to consult NatureScot
- Effects on the National Park Special Landscape Qualities caused by proposals outside the National Park.
NPAs will lead on provision of advice concerning effects of a proposal on:
- European sites– Habitats Regulations Appraisals for plans/projects for which NPA is competent authority.
- Nature conservation or biodiversity interests that are not internationally or nationally designated.
- Priority peatland and carbon-rich soil.
- For development within a National Park: Landscape (including wild land) interests within the National Park, including those within National Scenic Areas.
- Recreation and outdoor access.
- Placemaking and greenspace.
- Usually any one aspect of the natural heritage will be subject to advice from only one of the organisations. However, there may be issues on which both organisations will provide advice. In these cases the NPAs and NatureScot will seek to ensure that their advice is complementary, is consistent with the relevant National Park Partnership Plan and that any differences are clearly explained.
Published: March 2021