Amendments 13 and 14 appear to replicate existing duties that are already in planning legislation. Amendment 13 would require a flood risk assessment to be prepared where a development could increase the risk of properties being flooded. Amendment 14 would require planning authorities to have regard to that flood risk assessment when determining the application for planning permission.
Where flood risk is an issue, planning authorities already have a statutory duty to consult SEPA on planning applications. In commenting on an application, SEPA may advise that an assessment of flood risk should be prepared, and the planning authority has the power to require applicants to submit such an assessment.
In determining whether a flood risk assessment is necessary, SEPA will consult its flood risk experts, and both SEPA and the planning authority will consult SEPA's indicative flood maps. The authority must also consider SEPA's comments in response to an assessment before determining the application. That requirement arises from regulation 25 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2008, which prevents a planning authority from determining a planning application until it has given consultees such as SEPA time to respond.
Further, if a planning authority proposes, contrary to SEPA's advice, to grant permission, the case must be notified to Scottish ministers, who may decide to call in the application. That approach allows the planning authority and SEPA to exercise judgment on the risk posed by the proposal, before requiring the applicant to pay for an expensive consultant's study. The need for a flood risk assessment is therefore something that planning authorities, with advice from SEPA, are best placed to decide. On that basis, I ask Karen Gillon to withdraw amendment 13 and not to move amendment 14.