A Brief History of Core Path Planning
Part 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (the Act) requires all local authorities in Scotland to draw up a plan for “a system of paths, known as core paths, that is sufficient for giving the public reasonable access throughout their area”. The Act also requires that local authorities regularly review the Core Paths Plan once it is adopted. This is expected to be every five years.
Consultation Process 2009 - 2010
Following a series of informal consultations over a number of years including a Consultative Draft of the plan in 2009, on 24 June 2010 the Council approved The Finalised Draft of the Argyll and Bute Core Paths Plan forpublic consultation for a period of 12 weeks between January and April 2011.
Dealing with Objections
The consultation generated 853 representations from 274 individuals and organisations. 248 valid objections were received against 138 elements of the plan. Where an objection could not be resolved Argyll and Bute Council could not adopt the Plan until directed to do so by Scottish Ministers. Unresolved objections to the Draft Plan required a Local Inquiry into those objections by the Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) before the Plan could be adopted.
The Access Team then prepared an Objection Report for each of the 138 paths and Launching Points against which an objection had been received. The Argyll & Bute Access Forum gave their statutory advice and finally the Access Officer made his recommendations on whether or not the path should be included in the Core Paths Plan. If you wish to see a copy of any of these reports please contact the Access Team. The 138 Objection Reports were submitted to the Scottish Ministers in March 2013. The Directorate for Planning & Environmental Appeals then conducted a Local Inquiry.
Outcome of the Local Inquiry
In April 2015 the Scottish Ministers sent the Council a “Direction” to make changes to the Core Paths Plan and then adopt the plan. The Report of Inquiry and the Decision Notice for the Argyll & Bute Core Paths Plan can be found here: http://www.dpea.scotland.gov.uk/Document.aspx?id=258144
This directs Argyll and Bute Council to adopt the Core Paths Plan subject to 74 modifications set out in their report. In addition to the DPEA recommendations Scottish Ministers also directed that Launching Points should not be included as Core Paths in the Core Paths Plan. There is no right of appeal against the Scottish Ministers Direction.
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)
The Council screened the Core Paths Plan in July 2014 and determined that the plan was unlikely to have any significant environmental effects and therefore under Section 5(3) of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 an SEA was not required. The responses received from the Scottish Government’s SEA Gateway in August 2014 can be found here - You will need to search the database for Argyll & Bute Council and then select the Core Paths Plan.
Habitats Regulations Appraisal
The Council was required to carry out a Habitats Regulations Appraisal of the Core Paths Plan. This can be found here.