As Stage 3 debate of the Planning (Scotland) Bill gets underway at the Scottish Parliament, we’re disappointed at an amendment that seeks to remove the obligation on local authorities to meaningfully involve children when preparing their Local Development Plan.
That would be a concerning change where children’s human rights are concerned. It is fundamental to take account of children and young people’s views, best interests and needs to ensure that public bodies’ decisions both advance their rights and prevent a negative impact on them.
And it’s a move that’s against one of the core principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which the Government has committed to incorporate into Scots Law before the end of this Parliament.
One of the core principles of that Convention is the right of children to express their views in all matters affecting them.
But putting the views of children at the core of the planning system when Local Development Plans are prepared makes sense beyond a human rights perspective.
Children are the experts in how they live their lives and experience their environment, so they can provide input into Local Development Plans that no one else can.
Because of this, the obligation that Amendment 82 looks to remove is a way of making sure communities are planned in a way that works for all of their members.