Historically, new forestry and agricultural tracks could be built or upgraded under permitted development rights. However, the Minister for Local Government and Planning recently announced that new planning controls will be introduced for the proposed construction of new forestry and agricultural tracks (often referred to as hill tracks).
The new process will be one of"prior notification and approval":-
Landowners will be required to give their planning authority notification of the work they intend to carry out. This does not amount to a planning application.
Once prior notification has been given, the planning authority will have a period of 28 days in which to consider whether or not the proposed track meets the requirements for permitted development and whether approval is required for the siting, design or materials used for the proposed track.
These planning controls are intended to give increased protection to the Scottish countryside and to preserve amenity, the landscape and the environment. However, many environmentalists argue that the new planning controls do not go far enough.
Of course, much depends on how the new legislation will be implemented by local authorities.
The new legislation is due to be introduced later this year, post referendum.