This is the 6th Annual Report of BCCG and we continue our work in four main areas consistent with our Constitution and Objectives.
STRATEGIC PLANNING
Perth and Kinross Council are now working on the Local Development Plan Review (2018-2023) (LDP2) which has to be consistent with TAYPLAN, the overall strategy for the wider area. We continue to be generally supportive of TAYPLAN and the present Local Development Plan , and we continue to monitor any proposals for alterations and in particular the Housing in the Countryside Policy (HICP). As we mentioned in our last Annual Report, the HICP has not been rigorously applied in the past and developments must be monitored.
P&K adopted in June 2015 a Landscape Supplementary Guidance to incorporate the review in which we participated and we reported on last year . The Sidlaw Hills, which includes our BCCG area, is one of the eleven areas within Perth and Kinross identified as Special Landscape Areas. It is worth stating here the objectives for the Sidlaws which are incorporated into the Guidance
Seek to manage and expand woodland cover with native and other appropriate species in glens thus strengthening the woodland network which already exists.
Ensure high design  quality of new development in this landscape
Ensure long-term maintenance of policy woodlands and designed landscapes, whether inventory listed or otherwise, which make a strong contribution to this area
Preserve distinctive character of small villages along the Braes of the Carse
Ensure particular care in siting and design of potentially intrusive structures such as masts and wind turbines
          With the addition of improving and preserving our wildlife and their habitats, these objectives are very much what BCCG is all about.
LOCAL DEVELOPMENT
Bandirran
The proposed windfarm required close attention early in the year but by September I was able to write to all members with the positive news that all the work over the past two years and more has paid off. The so called “Community wind Farm” ownership scheme advocated by a trust based in Coupar Angus was not deemed viable , Banks have had to take down their wind monitoring mast, and are thought unlikely to proceed with the project. Both groups may return to the matter at some future date, so the present battle may have been won but the war may not have ended.
Other development applications
We continue to examine planning applications in our area by co operating with Inchture Community Council and viewing the P&K web site. We bring applications to the attention of members and where we see that our overall objectives or the policies of P&K are under threat , we may submit an objection. From time to time we also submit a letter of support to a planning application. It is not always practical for us to circulate our membership  before taking a view on an application, we rely on the members of our committee to get local views, and then our response is made by our Secretary on behalf of the committee. It is therefore important that members keep us informed of their opinions but our policy is still not to comment on minor local applications unless they have wider potential impact on our area.  We are but one voice in the planning process , but our experience in the past year, is that our submissions are regarded with some considerable weight and are duly considered by  those responsible for the final decisions. 
ENVIRONMENT
We have been co-operating with the Tay Landscape Partnership in the past year. They have identified some 15 sites within our area which have been prioritised  for improvement and management plans drawn up.
Our original Bird box programme has been extended into the priority areas and ringing and fledgling records maintained. A further 42 birdboxes and 21 bat boxes have been installed by Barry Caudwell but due to the weather conditions this year fledgling performance has not been good . The project however is not for short term results and we are all at the mercy of the weather.
We have recently agreed with TLP to start another project to encourage landowners and farmers to re-plant hedges and tree lines around field edges. This will be similar to the project we ran successfully in 2012 and 2013 . We shall shortly publicise the details of this initiative with the  hope of starting to plant this year and lining up sites for further planting next year. It is also hoped to incorporate further fruit trees into our planting programme to continue the work of re-establishing the orchards of the Carse and the wider area.
Members and all interested in the environment are encouraged to follow the progress of TLP on www.taylp.org
MEMBERSHIP
We continue to explore ways to encourage good design in the built environment and identify community led projects to improve our natural environment. We recently decided at committee level to start a programme of identifying key targets for improvement for each of the villages and their environs in the BCCG area. The village representatives on our committee will take this forward over the next twelve months.
As a group we also need to establish a more secure funding basis and ensure our web site is up to date and of use to our members.
I retire as Chairman at the end of the AGM and hand over to Graham Nicholson for the next two years. I would like to thank our membership and the committee for their support and dedication and look forward to continuing to support the BCCG.
     Yours,
      Malcolm McSwan, Chairman
                          November 2015

BRAES OF THE CARSE CONSERVATION GROUP

ANNUAL REPORT  2013/14

 

This is the fifth Annual Report of BCCG and the work of the Group has now developed into four main areas consistent with our Constitution and Objectives.

1.       Strategic Planning

2.        Local Development

3.       Environment

4.       Member support

STRATEGIC PLANNING

   Much of our work in earlier years was in contributing to, and representing our members interests, in the TAYPLAN, the overall strategic plan for the wider area which includes the Braes of the Carse. The outcome was very much what we wanted with the focus for most new housing development to be around Perth and Dundee rather than in the Carse of Gowrie .However , the proposed plan is not due for publication until mid 2015 and final approval by Scottish ministers is scheduled for late 2016. Until it is approved we will monitor any publication of alterations and if necessary make further representations.

The LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN which follows the strategy adopted in Tayplan was also the subject of much work from the committee and members, and again we are generally comfortable with the plans apart from the aspect of Housing in the Countryside policy (HICP).  Perth and Kinross Council reduced the number of small village and groups of houses designated as “settlements with clear boundaries for development”, with the result that any development outside these boundaries is now covered by HICP. In the past this policy has not been rigorously applied so under the new Local Plan scrutiny will be required to ensure that HICP is observed and inappropriate and ribbon development is avoided.

During 2014 we participated in the PERTH AND KINROSS LOCAL LANDSCAPE REVIEW PANEL with the objective of having our area and the west Sidlaws designated as one of the best landscapes in the area. The purposes of designation are to

·         Safeguard and enhance the character and quality of landscapes which are important or particularly valued locally.

·         Promote understanding and awareness of the distinctive character and special qualities of local landscapes ·         Safeguard and protect important settings for outdoor recreation and tourism locally

   Designation does not restrict development or automatically protect the environment but it does provide a status for the area which must be taken into account within Scottish planning policy. We are hoping for a positive recommendation for designation in the coming months.

 

 

 

LOCAL DEVELOPMENT

Bandirran

The proposed Bandirran windfarm took a lot of our attention and resources in early 2014. We succeeded in submitting a well argued objection and over 700 other objections were made. The efforts of many of our members , committee and other interested bodies e.g. Scotland Against Spin, were reflected in the quality of our objection. Our position in objecting to this proposed development reflected the views of our membership based on a near unanimous vote of the approximately 70 members who attended our last  AGM.

The current status of the application is that it is  still  being considered by the planning department. I hope that an update may be available for our AGM both on the Councils view and from the developer.

Other development applications

We are continuing to monitor planning applications in our area by co operating with Inchture Community Council and viewing the P&KC web site. We bring to members attention applications as they  are not always well publicized within the planning process, this Increased awareness is generally appreciated by our members . We have followed the policy of not commenting on minor local applications unless they have wider potential impact on our area.

We have made two objections recently which are still pending a decision by the Council and illustrate the position we take

1.       Flawcraig—an application for 11 houses.

 Our objections included   

·         Contrary to TAYplan which does not support large scale development in the Carse

·         Contrary to Housing in the Countryside policy

·         Increased traffic on the Higher Carse road which is designated for cycling and walking

 

2.       Valleyfield-an application for further storage sheds

Our objections included

·         Contrary to development plan

·         Previous enforcement orders and planning conditions had been ignored

·         Creeping commercial development north of the A90 in an area designated for agriculture awareness is generally appreciated by our members . We have followed the policy of not commenting on minor local applications unless they have wider potential impact on our area.

We have made two objections recently which are still pending a decision by the Council and illustrate the position we take

1.       Flawcraig—an application for 11 houses.

 Our objections included   

·         Contrary to TAYplan which does not support large scale development in the Carse

·         Contrary to Housing in the Countryside policy

·         Increased traffic on the Higher Carse road which is designated for cycling and walking

 

2.       Valleyfield-an application for further storage sheds

Our objections included

·         Contrary to development plan

·         Previous enforcement orders and planning conditions had been ignored

·         Creeping commercial development north of the A90 in an area designated for agriculture

 

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

Our three projects were concluded during the year and the funds allocated from the PKC Quality of Life Trust used up.

The Bird box programme has proved very successful and the ringing and fledging records have been sent to the British Trust for Ornithology by Barry Caudwell .There have been several endangered species successes including a healthy fledge of Barn Owls.

The programme of  tree planting on field edges was completed but there is a continuing need for replacement trees. Our activity, limited by funds, planted nearly 300 trees but much more needs to be done to preserve our tree lines and hedgerows.

The third programme of re establishing traditional varieties of fruit trees has also made an  impact and there is now general recognition and more activity in re establishing the orchards which have been long associated with the Carse .

These three projects were expected to be pilot activities to be followed by further funding and work under the Tay to Braes Wildlife Ways project which was included in the funding application for the Tay Landscape Partnership. The Partnership has now been launched but so  far we have not been involved but I am pleased to say that the Chief Executive of the Partnership, Shirley Paterson,has agreed to speak and explain her plans at our AGM.

 

MEMBER SUPPORT

We have established a fairly comprehensive web site www.braesofthecarse.org but already it is getting out of date and needs further work. This will be one of our priorities for the coming year as it should be dynamic in order that our membership are kept fully up to date.

We also do not want to be perceived as a  pressure group with a negative attitude that is against all development .So we are considering how we can encourage good design in the built environment and community led projects to improve the natural environment.  We hope to get the views of the membership starting at the AGM.

In conclusion I would like to thank all of our committee members and our general membership for their hard work and participation in the past year and look forward to making further progress.

 Yours, 

Malcolm McSwan,  Chairman.

 

Braes of the Carse Conservation Group

 

Dear Member                                                         4th February 2014

 

                                            Bandirran Wind Farm

 

We now understand that Banks submitted their revised planning application last week and it is probable that P&K will publish it very shortly. The period for comments from interested parties starts at publication and could be as short as 21 days although at least two Community Councils intend to request extra time.

Those of you who attended our AGM in November will recall that the 60 or so people who attended were unanimously against the planned development. Your committee therefore feel that they have a mandate to object to the planning application on behalf of the Braes of the Carse Conservation Group.

We also intend to encourage members and others to submit individual objections.

Our objective over the period for representations to the planning application is to get as many valid objections as possible submitted on time, in addition to the Group objection.

We are updating our web site to include general information on wind farms and links to other organizations and sources of information. There will shortly be a page of guidance on how to make an objection and the grounds under planning law which are valid. We will also publish the timetable which P&K are working to and in particular the cut off date.

We are preparing press releases and an entry for the spring edition of the  Inchture Newsletter .

In conclusion, I would ask all of you who are against this development to watch our web site to access information and we will keep it up to date with more data as it becomes available.

Please bring the site to the attention of others and do what you can at this stage to activate objectors.

   http//www.braesofthecarse.org/bandirran-wind-farm

We are up against a very professional and powerful developer but every objector will count in the planning decision.

 

                         Yours ,

                      

                             Malcolm McSwan

                                Chairman, BCCG