Planning & Environment

Drawing breath after doing this seminar at our offices in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The mention of ecological interest might strike terror in the heart of property developers, but my theme was “don’t panic”.

The potential impact of wind turbines on birds is well-known, but ecological interest can affect all types of development, irrespective of location. Even derelict urban sites attract types of wildlife – and a delegate noted that with the slowdown in development this could be an issue when consented sites come up for renewal of permission.

Ecology is a complicated issue, because of differing levels of protection. Developers should obtain specialist ecological and legal advice.

It is often possible to design developments to take account of protected species and the like. One delegate mentioned a newt prison (probably not its official title!).

Developers need to build sufficient time into their programme, both to undertake survey work, and also for construction work to avoid breeding seasons. There are innovative approaches, such as employing Ecological Clerks of Works (ECOWs) on large wind farm and other developments.

Objectors often focus on ecological issues. The AWPR legal challenge includes arguments about assessing the impact on the River Dee Special Area of Conservation from construction of a bridge. This illustrates the potential for disputes. Developers need to be well-informed.

Neil Collar

Partner at Brodies LLP
Neil is a partner at Brodies LLP and consistently rated as one of Scotland’s leading planning lawyers. He is well known for both his planning inquiry advocacy and his advisory work. Neil has a particular interest in renewable energy developments.
Neil Collar