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Scotland round-up: Wild Land policy, flood defences

Words: Roger Milne

A round-up of planning news in Scotland: August 26 - 1 September

Test of new Wild Land planning policy

A public inquiry over a Caithness wind farm opened last week in Thurso which will be the first test of the government’s recently introduced planning guidance on wild land.

The Planner

Nith flood defences 'to ruin Robbie Burns river'

Residents of Dumfries fear plans for a £12 million flood-defence scheme could see the town effectively cut off from the river. Dumfries and Galloway Council is proposing to build a wall and a large mound of earth nearly three metres high with glass viewing points running along the banks of the Nith in the Whitesands area for more than a kilometre. Residents claim this will destroy one of the town’s beauty spots, celebrated in a poem by Robert Burns, and that not enough thought has been put into cheaper, less intrusive alternatives, such as dredging the heavily silted river bottom. 
Motorists face city ban in emissions crackdown
The government is considering fines for motorists whose vehicles emit high levels of pollution. The devolved administration is looking at creating so-called Low Emission Zones (LEZs) as city councils in Scotland look to meet more stringent European Union targets on air quality. The government will host a series of public events to discuss a new Low Emission Strategy later this year.
Park of Keir development backed by LTA and PGA
Controversial proposals by Judy Murray, mother of tennis champion Andy Murray, and golfer Colin Montgomerie for the Park Keir development - which involves a tennis centre and golf course, a hotel and 100 new homes - have received backing from three top sporting bodies. The project, earmarked for a site between Bridge of Allan and Dunblane, has been endorsed by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) and Tennis Scotland.
Dubai plans 16-bedroom Highland mansion
One of the world’s richest men intends to build a 16-bedroom mansion in the Highlands. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and vice-president of the United Arab Emirates, is seeking permission to build a lodge-style home on his 63,000-acre Inverinate Estate in Wester Ross, near the Kyle of Lochalsh. Previous plans for a 14-bedroom home faced objections from planners on Highland Council but were approved by the local authority’s planning committee in 2009. He later decided the home was too small.
Thousands of bees set up home on roof of City Chambers
Glasgow City Chambers have been invaded by 120,000 bees. They have taken up residence on the roof of the iconic building as part of Sustainable Glasgow's plans for Green Year 2015.The charity Stalled Spaces and Sustainable Glasgow has housed two colonies high above George Square on the flat roof of the City Chambers. The new arrivals have already proved a huge hit with council staff who have volunteered in swarms to look after them.
Proposals for new Aberdeen homes
Plans to pave the way to build hundreds of new homes on eight sites across Aberdeen have been approved by city councillors.
Public hearing into former Aberdeen City Council HQ development
A public hearing has been held into plans for the redevelopment of the site of the former Aberdeen city council headquarters. Developers Muse plan to build a hotel and office complex on the city centre site following the demolition of St Nicholas House. The £107 million plan also includes building shops and restaurants.