§ Lord Pearson of Rannoch
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether Scottish Natural Heritage's proposed power under the Habitats Directive to vary existing 120WA agreements for planning consents and potentially damaging operations will be subject to appeal to its advisory committee, and if not, what role they foresee for that committee in future.
§ The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie)
No. The Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994 will not empower Scottish Natural Heritage to modify or revoke planning permissions, which is a matter for planning authorities. The regulations do not affect the remit of the Advisory Committee on Sites of Special Scientific Interest, which remains as set out in Section 12 of the Natural Heritage (Scotland) Act 1991. The committee's statutory remit relates solely to the scientific justification for SSSI notifications and does not extend to advising on the list of potentially damaging operations. Regulation 24 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994 provides for a reference to the Secretary of State if Scottish Natural Heritage refuses an application for consent to carry out a potentially damaging operation made in accordance with Regulation 23.