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Consultation Paper on Extending Permitted Development Rights for Domestic Wind Turbines and Air-Source Heat Pumps (Scottish Government 2010)

Submission from ALGAO:Scotland

Extending Permitted Development Rights for Domestic Micro-Wind Turbines and Air Source Heat Pumps
Directorate for the Built Environment
The Scottish Government
2-H (Bridge), Victoria Quay

26 April 2010

Dear Sirs

Consultation Paper on Extending Permitted Development Rights for Domestic Wind Turbines and Air-Source Heat Pumps

ALGAO:Scotland represents Local Authority and National Park archaeological services in Scotland and is part of the UK-wide organisation, ALGAO:UK. We welcome this opportunity to comment upon this Scottish Government consultation and wish to offer the following comments and recommendations. We have only responded to those questions which we consider to be the most relevant to our interests.

Question 2. What grounds are there, if any, to further constrain the PD proposals for domestic microgeneration equipment in areas designated for protection of flora, fauna, geological or archaeological interests?

The consultation document is unclear and confusing, about what exactly is being proposed in respect of protection of "archaeological interests". Paragraph 34 refers to impacts from foundations from micro-wind turbines on SSSIs of geological or archaeological importance. Annex 1 however refers to wind turbines not being permitted on sites of archaeological interest.

As far as we are aware SSSIs do not encompass sites and areas of archaeological importance. The consultation document however makes no mention of Scheduled Monuments, designated under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. Scheduled Monuments have an equivalent status to listed buildings in that a separate consent (Scheduled Monument Consent) is required from Scottish Ministers for any development which would affect a Scheduled Monument, however small. This should have been made clear in the consultation document and will also need to be made clear in any statutory instruments which increase permitted development rights under planning legislation. However very few archaeological sites and areas are actually Scheduled. About 95% of the archaeological resource in Scotland is not Scheduled and is normally protected through planning legislation and procedures. This includes unknown, sub-surface, archaeological deposits as well as known, upstanding archaeological sites.

Any increase in permitted development rights for domestic properties, whether within urban or rural areas, constitutes a potential source of erosion of Scotland’s archaeological resource, but without a built in capability to have the resource properly recorded by archaeologists prior to destruction. Under the terms of Scottish Planning Policy and Planning Advice Note 42 developers are expected to pay for archaeological excavation in advance of development, where preservation in situ is not possible, but this can only apply where planning consent has been sought and granted.

If it is actually intended that wind turbines will not be permitted on all sites of archaeological interest as set out in Annex 1, we would very much welcome this, but it needs to be made clear how the public can find out about such sites. Full information on archaeological sites and areas, both known and potential (that is, invisible, sub-surface), is available from curatorial archaeologists employed by, or for, all Scottish local authorities. All Scottish local authorities now either maintain or have access to a Sites and Monuments Record curated for them by their archaeologists. We suggest that there needs to be an addition to the GPDO to require consultation of the relevant Sites and Monuments Record Service in each local authority to determine whether an otherwise permitted development would affect a site or area of archaeological significance, and therefore would not be permitted. This consultation could however potentially generate rather a lot of work and extra costs for Sites and Monuments Record services, which would need to be recovered by an appropriate charge for consultation of the Record.

Question 4. What grounds are there, if any, to constrain the PD proposals for micro wind turbines and air source heat pumps in World Heritage Sites?

Where a World Heritage Site has been designated for archaeological reasons, we would have the same concerns as expressed above in respect of the potential erosion of archaeological resources without the ability to make a proper record prior to destruction. We suggest that there is a substantial case for suspending all permitted development rights within World Heritage Sites which have been designated for archaeological reasons. Otherwise the terms of the UNESCO designation are not being met, as control of development within World Heritage Sites is a basic requirement of the designation. Because some of this development is viewed as being permitted under UK planning legislation, does not mean that it is not development which should be controlled within a World Heritage Site.

Question 6. Will the setting of listed buildings be adequately protected by not granting PD rights to wind turbines and ASHP within their curtilage?

The settings of Scheduled Monuments also need to be considered as well as the settings of listed buildings. Planning authorities are currently required under the terms of the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) (Scotland) Order to consult Historic Scotland on any planning application for development which may affect the setting of a Scheduled Monument. There needs to be some consideration of how this matter will be covered in extending permitted development rights. Wind turbines in particular tend to raise issues in respect of the settings of Scheduled Monuments.

Question 7. Do you think that general conditions on amenity and other impacts could be applied to the PD rights for MWT and ASHP equipment?

We know from experience with the prior notification for agricultural buildings that the word“amenity” is not usually interpreted by planning authorities as covering archaeological resources and their protection. We would support the ability for Local Authorities to ask for planning applications to be submitted, where there is a clear case that archaeological resources, whether designated or not, would be affected by an otherwise permitted development.

We would be happy to discuss any of these matters, either directly with the Directorate for the Built Environment, or with Historic Scotland who have a general oversight of Scotland’s historic environment policy.

Yours faithfully

Carol Swanson
Chair ALGAO:Scotland

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