SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands Rob Gibson has questioned the large savings in staff costs being reported to Highland Councils Planning Committee which could prejudice renewable energy and housing projects that should lead us out of recession.
He spoke out ahead of the Scottish Parliament Energy Enquiry hearing on planning issues which coincides with Highland Council Planning and development meeting tomorrow (Wed 18th)
Mr Gibson said,
"Both written and oral evidence to the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee enquiry show significant problems with the speed and clarity of the planning system and that the culture change embodied in the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 has yet to be felt in planning authorities across Scotland."
"At a time when we need speedy, thorough proposals from planning officials Highland Council is being asked to endorse £433,000 cost savings at the expense of planning staff cuts."
"The 2006 Act should have seen more resources allocated to planning authorities. Therefore we need to know how planning officials hope to deliver recession-busting developments in renewable energy and housing."
"How can SNP Government targets for sustainable economic growth be met when deep cuts in planning staff are proposed?"