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MSP in referenda query over planning  

A North MSP is trying to pin the executive down as to whether it can use local referenda as part of the planning process following comments made by an SNP candidate during the Holyrood elections.

North MSP Peter Peacock wants to establish if the promise was just spin, or a serious proposal.

During the election campaign Alasdair Allan, who went on to win the Western Isles, said the biggest wind farm proposals on Lewis should only go ahead if a local referendum shows local people genuinely want them.

Mr Peacock said: “The SNP seemed to make great play of the potential for a local referendum to veto the wind farm proposal. It is now time to see whether this was just election spin, or has any substance. Throughout the election campaign, it seemed to me that what Alasdair Allan was promising, or at least implying, was not possible under planning law.”

He has tabled a series of parliamentary questions covering the powers of local authorities and ministers, the delegation of powers, and the possibility of determination of planning applications as a result of referenda.

Mr Peacock added: “These questions are designed to establish whether the SNP have been spinning, or making a serious proposal which can be delivered in law.”

The Press and Journal

8 June 2007

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