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Mediation in the planning system
A constructive way of avoiding and minimising planning disputes is to be encouraged by the Scottish Government.
Ministers believe the use of mediation will result in quicker decisions and a more efficient planning system to support increasing sustainable economic growth.
The 'Guide to the Use of Mediation in the Planning System', commissioned last Summer by the Government and launched today by Finance Secretary John Swinney, is designed to help planning authorities, developers, statutory consultees, communities and third parties understand how mediation can be used to build consensus on difficult issues and enhance the planning process.
Mr Swinney said:
"Planning applications often spark passionate debate, with people expressing strongly-held views both for and against development proposals.
"In some cases, the involvement of a third party mediator can resolve differences, bring in impartiality and help parties identify common ground on a way forward.
"By avoiding, narrowing and ending disputes and achieving consensus, the time and cost taken to determine applications can potentially be reduced, contributing to the more effective and efficient planning system we all want to see.
"This is a key aim of our work with local government, agencies and the development industry to ensure the planning system acts as an aid rather than a hindrance to economic development. That is particularly important in the current climate, which is why it is at the heart of our Economic Recovery Programme."