Councillor Alastair Majury on Park of Keir Wildlife

On Facebook a kind person asked the following question:

Can I ask a question about the disruption to protected wildlife species? Does anyone know of housing developments are granted licences to disturb or destroy red squirrel dreys, badger setts or pine martin habitat?

Please find below a response from the council.

Response to the general point: Do housing developments grant licenses to disturb or destroy red squirrels dreys, badger setts or pine martin habitats?

Red squirrels, badgers and pine martins are all ‘protected species’. Protected species are species that are protected by law, meaning that it can be illegal to kill, injure or capture etc these animals.There is a legal framework in place to protect these species. This legal framework includes the requirement for planning decisions to take account of protected species. Scottish Planning Policy requires that the presence (or potential presence) of legally protected species is factored into the planning and design of development proposals, and that any impacts on protected species are fully considered prior to the determination of planning applications. Where impacts on a protected species cannot be avoided, certain activities may only be undertaken with a licence from SNH.

With regard to a housing development: the planning application should be supported by a survey of the protected species including any proposed mitigation. SNH will be consulted on this matter and will provide a view. This may mean that the development can go ahead as there is no/limited impact on protected species, mitigation may be required (such as buffer/exclusion zones, conditions regarding the timing of development etc) or permission may be refused if the impact is significant and cannot be appropriately mitigated. Planning permission does not override the need for the developer to obtain the necessary licence from SNH.

What has been taken into account with respect to Park of Keir?

All the documentation relating to Park of Keir is still available on DPEAs website:https://www.dpea.scotland.gov.uk/CaseDetails.aspx?id=117318&T=1

An Environmental Impact Assessment was submitted with the planning application. Chapter 4 of the EIA dealt with Ecology and Nature Conservation including (Appendix B) Protected Species Surveys Reports. Chapter 4 included the following:

· Define the nature conservation interest of the site at present and highlight sites designated for their nature conservation interest within the development site and its surrounds;

· Identify habitats with nature conservation interest within the site and appropriate buffers and their use by protected species;

· Identify the presence of protected species;

· Define the ecological value of habitats and species (receptors);

· Predict the impact of the development during construction and operation on ecological receptors without mitigation measures;

· Provide mitigation, compensation and enhancement measures for habitats and species;

· Re-evaluate the significance of residual impacts after such measures; and

· Conclude on the predicted positive or negative significant residual effects of the proposed development on ecological receptors during construction and operation.

The ecological receptors were: Habitats including groundwater dependent terrestrial ecosystems (assessed by Phase 1 and NVC surveys) and designated sites; Otter; Water vole; Badger; Reptiles; Breeding birds; Red squirrel; Pine marten; and Bats.

SNH responded on the application stating:

“The natural heritage interests of international importance connected to the site will not be adversely affected by the proposal.

The proposal is immediately adjacent to the Kippenrait Glen Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designated for its mixed woodland on base-rich soils associated with rocky slopes, and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), notified for upland mixed ash woodland, beetle assemblages and cranefly. The proposal is also approximately 2km from the River Teith SAC, designated for Atlantic salmon and brook, river and sea lamprey. Kippenrait Glen SAC / SSSI — It is unlikely that the proposal will have a significant effect on any qualifying interests either directly or indirectly. An appropriate assessment is therefore not required.

The River Teith SAC — The proposal will not adversely affect the integrity of the site. The appraisal we carried out considered the impact of the proposals as follows:

The River Teith SAC is approximately 2km downstream of the proposed development site. The Allan Water, a tributary of the River Teith SAC which runs along the west side of the proposed development site, may provide suitable habitat for the qualifying species. There has been no assessment of the presence or absence of these species within the Allan Water, however the layout design and mitigation measures proposed are suitable to ensure that there will be no untreated runoff into this watercourse. Based on the mitigation measures and active nature of drainage plans for the site, which require to be approved by SEPA, SNH are content that there will be no adverse impact on the integrity of the SAC.

Protected Species including European Protected Species (EPS):The surveys carried out for most protected species including EPS are thorough, and appropriate mitigation measures are set out within the ES.

Badgers — As badgers could be affected by the proposal, a species protection plan should be submitted.

Bats — As the impact of the development on bats is assessed as of local value and not significant, and suitable mitigation has been included in the bat report submitted by the applicant, SNH advise that if these measures are conditioned within any subsequent planning permission granted then there will be no need for the provision of a protection plan”.

The planning application was refused and an appeal lodged, the appeal was heard by means of a public inquiry. The public inquiry did not encompass protected species since the reporter was of the view that there was sufficient information already supplied on this matter. The Scottish Ministers issued a Notice of Intention on 20th Aug 2017 which provided the list of conditions that would be applied to any forthcoming decision. This included the following conditions:

17. A Badger Species Protection Plan: Prior to works commencing on site a badger species protection plan shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Planning Authority. The scope of this plan shall be agreed in advance with the Planning Authority, in consultation with Scottish Natural Heritage.

Reason: To ensure that appropriate mitigation measures are in place to minimise the adverse impact of this development on badgers.

18. Bats Species Protection Plan: Prior to works commencing on site a bats species protection plan shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Planning Authority, in consultation with Scottish Natural Heritage.

Reason: To ensure that appropriate mitigation measures are in place to minimise the adverse impact of this development on bats.

19. Red Squirrel protection: All works at the site shall only proceed following the procedure set out within Chapter 4 (Ecology and Nature Conservation) of Volume 1 of the Environmental Statement at paragraph 4.7.4.

Reason: To ensure that appropriate mitigation measures are in place to minimise the adverse impact of this development on squirrels.

20. Habitat Management Plan: Prior to works commencing on site a Habitat Management Plan shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Planning Authority. The scope of this plan shall be agreed in advance with the Planning Authority, in consultation with RSPB Scotland.

Reason: To minimise recreational disturbance and damage, maintaining connectivity of habitats, ensure appropriate habitats are created for tree pipit, grasshopper warbler and yellowhammer.

In conclusion, as has been set out above the issue of protected species was fully considered throughout the planning process with relation to the Park of Keir development.

Alastair Majury resides locally in the historic Scottish city of Dunblane, and is a Principal Consultant and a Senior Regulatory Business Analyst working across the country. Alastair Majury also serves on the local council (Stirling Council) as Councillor Alastair Majury where he represents the ward of Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, topping the poll.

Alastair Majury, is also a director of Majury Change Management Ltd is a highly experienced Senior Business Analyst / Data Scientist with a proven track record of success planning, developing, implementing and delivering migrations, organisational change, regulatory, legislative, and process improvements for global financial organisations, covering Retail Banking, Investment Banking, Wealth Management, and Life & Pensions.

For several years now, Alastair has worked extensively with a variety of financial institutions in order to offer the utmost comprehensive services. As a data scientist/business analyst, Alastair Majury is expected to find intuitive and sensible solutions to complex problems.

As a data scientist/business analyst, Alastair Majury has worked closely with several high-profile businesses, such as BNP Paribas, National Australia Bank, Standard Life and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.​A graduate of University of Glasgow, Alastair Majury earned his M.A. in Economics with Business Economics. Since then, Alastair has undergone several training sessions and earned multiple certifications for a variety of skills. More specifically, he has earned certifications in IAQ, risk management, resource management, and a bevy of other areas. ​Alastair Majury thoroughly enjoys his work.

What excites him most about being a data scientist/business analyst is that every problem has a variety of solutions. This allows for a great deal of creativity on his part. Providing ingenious solutions to his customers’ problems provides a great deal of satisfaction to Alastair Majury. Every single day can be a new and challenging problem.​

Although he is a fierce and determined worker, Alastair also manages to find free time to embrace his hobbies and interests. Alastair is a major proponent of philanthropy and charitable endeavors. He constantly finds new and exciting ways to promote charities and philanthropic organizations in his community. He also tries to donate time and funds to said organizations whenever he can. Alastair Majury firmly believes that if we all work together towards a common goal, we can find peace.

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I am a Chartered Member of CISI, which is the UK’s leading securities and investment professional body. Alastair Majury resides locally in Dunblane.

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Alastair Majury

Alastair Majury

I am a Chartered Member of CISI, which is the UK’s leading securities and investment professional body. Alastair Majury resides locally in Dunblane.

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