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Planning (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (Day 2)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th June 2019.

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Photo of Claudia Beamish Claudia Beamish Labour

Amendments 200 and 219 aim to bring climate change considerations more firmly into the process of determining an application for planning permission for a national development. Amendment 200 states that, before planning permission is determined, a planning authority must consider

“the development’s lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions”,

and the impact that those will have on our emissions reduction targets.

Earlier, in speaking about amendment 186, which related to section 1, on the national planning framework, I mentioned amendment 219, as it is consequential to that earlier amendment and to amendment 200. Amendment 219 defines “lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions” as

“the emissions associated with the construction, operation and decommissioning of a development.”

In my view, that rounded approach is correct.

At stage 2, I lodged a similar amendment to amendment 200, but I have made adaptations following the minister’s comments. I have removed a reference to “major” developments, which is an improvement and will prevent duplication. As I said, I had a similar amendment to section 1, on the national planning framework, and amendment 200 can work alongside that. The duty in amendment 200 is placed on the planning authority.

Again, I highlight the context of the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill and the process of agreeing a target of net zero emissions by 2045, and the fact that the Government and other parties have declared a state of climate emergency in Scotland. In the light of that, national development proposals must be explicitly considered within that framework. The long-term cost implications and climate change impacts must be weighed up against potentially competing considerations, which may well be more short-term economic considerations. That can lead to an approach that is more aligned to sustainable development and it can help to guide us to make decisions that avoid investment that will not serve us well in future and could well lock in unsustainable developments in Scotland.

I move amendment 200.