SARF040b: Potential for Permitted Development Rights and Use Classes for Fin and Shellfish Developments

Start Date: 12/04/2010
End Date: 18/06/2010
Main Contractor(s): Epsilon Resource Management
Other Sponsor(s):  

Objectives

The scientific and other justifications for a range of PDR options and any Use Classes – risks and benefits.  The study should consider all equipment used or deployed at a farm for which planning permission is required.

The question of ‘percentage’ changes in fish farm infrastructure that might be permitted by a broad PDR regime and how this will operate in practice alongside a ‘fixed’ numeric threshold indicator in the EIA regulations considering the varying sizes of fish farms;

The significance of such a range of PDR options and Use Classes in environmental terms.

Summary

Five main project components are envisaged:

1. A detailed desktop study of all existing Scottish PDRs and Use Classes.  It should be noted that research on the “GPDO” was published in March 2007 and account will need to be taken of this.  This will involve a comparative analysis of different PDRs and Use Classes to help determine whether PDRs or Use Classes could also be applied to fish farming developments.  ‘Conditions’, ‘limitations’, “parameters” and ‘exceptions’ applied to PDRs will be taken into consideration.  The research will also examine “prior notification”.  The fundamental principles of PDRs and Use Classes as they might apply in the marine or freshwater environment will be addressed, justifying main differences to the current terrestrial regime while recognising that there may not be a direct like-for-like comparison.  The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development)(Scotland) Order 1992 (GPDO) and the Scottish Executive review of the GPDO 2007 will help inform this study.  An overview of other countries, e.g. Norway, Canada, Chile etc., and how they apply PDRs or proxy PDRs will also be provided for comparison.

2.  A specific investigation of the scale and type of PDRs which might be applied to the aquaculture industry in Scotland, taking account of evidence from all regulators and stakeholders, as well as industry.  Similar investigation into Use Classes will also be undertaken.

3.  The research will note the “Baker Ruling” (R (on the Application of Baker) v Bath and North East Somerset Council) and subsequent guidance issued by the Scottish Government on the implications of this ruling for environmental impact assessment.  The research will need to take this into account when making recommendations, with the focus being on what minimum information would be needed to seek a screening opinion if one was required.  This would include a view on whether there was a need for a planning application and a fee.

4.  The results from above will be used to produce a number of hypothetical scenarios to demonstrate how PDRs and Use Classes could be applied to fin and shellfish development.  A number of issues will be taken into consideration including scope of the PDRs, various types of fish farming e.g. salmon, cod, trout, mussels etc., the possibility of temporary PDRs and the regulatory issues associated with introducing PDRs.  One scenario that should be explored is changing from a finfish to a shellfish farm.

5.  PDR and Use Classes ‘scenarios’ will be presented to the steering group for comment along with views on the minimum information required to be submitted to support consideration of a screening opinion.