The Mobile Operators Association (MOA) has called for changes in Scottish planning policy to ensure that Scotland’s economy and society do not lag behind the rest of the UK.
John Cooke, Executive Director of the Mobile Operators Association said: “Scotland needs a world-class digital infrastructure if her businesses are to compete in a global market place, if public services are to be delivered effectively, and if we are going to see vibrant and sustainable communities in our cities, towns and rural areas. In the Twenty-first century, good digital connectivity is a necessity, not an optional extra.”
He added: “In theory, current Scottish Government Planning Policy does encourage councils to support the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure. However, the planning system here in Scotland is less supportive than in England or Wales. That compounds the problem of Scotland’s difficult terrain and low population density, both of which make telecommunications infrastructure more challenging and more expensive to deploy, but which also make good digital connectivity even more important.”
The MOA was responding to two concurrent consultations on Development Delivery, and on Miscellaneous Amendments to the Planning System. Its submissions call for an extension of Permitted Development Rights, to bring those in Scotland into line with England and Wales, and for compulsory training for members of planning authorities and Local Review Bodies.
John Cooke said: “It’s important that Scotland’s planning system does not act as a disincentive to sustainable economic development. Compulsory training – such as already exists for members of licensing authorities – will ensure that councillors have the right skills and knowledge to apply planning policy properly in the digital age.”