CHAPTER 14: CONSULTATION
14.1 Designation of the partners consulted
The Scottish Executive has consulted extensively with a wide range of partners to help inform the development of the 2007-13 Scotland Rural Development Programme. Partners consulted include Executive agencies, local authorities, non-governmental organisations with economic, environmental and social remits, and bodies representing relevant industry and society interest groups and organisations responsible for promoting equality. A list of the key individuals and organisations to whom copies of the consultation documents were sent is set out at Annex 6.
Participation and consultation has been carried out in a variety of ways, for example:
- formal public consultations on the Rural Development Regulation, the Strategy Plan the SEA Environment report and on the Rural development Programme itself;
- formal and informal meetings;
- public presentations;
- workshops and seminars; and
- written and electronic communication.
14.2 Results of the consultations
Draft Rural Development Regulation
The consultation on the draft EU Regulation was carried out between 9 September 2004 and 5 November 2004. The consultation document set out a number of key issues in the draft regulation on which Scottish stakeholder views would be valued. A total of 38 responses to the consultation were received. A detailed analysis of responses was produced by the Scottish Executive, which helped greatly in focusing views to reach an agreed UK negotiating position, with England, Wales and Northern Ireland, where similar consultations were also held. The analysis of responses can be accessed on the Scottish Executive's website at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2004/12/20377/48067
The consultation on the Strategic Plan took place over 7 weeks between 8 February and 29 March 2006. A total of 107 responses was received. These have been categorised by stakeholder interest group. The number of responses received in each group is shown in Table 14.1. Local Authorities and Government Bodies accounted for over a third of responses and the voluntary sector for about a fifth.
Table 14.1 Responses to the consultation on the Strategic Plan by type of respondent
Category of respondent
Number of responses
Rural Development Programme
The consultation on the Rural Development Programme took place over 12 weeks between 4 April and 30 June 2006. A total of 259 responses was received. The number of responses received for each category of respondent is shown in Table 14.2.
Table 14.2 Responses to the consultation on the Rural Development Programme by type of respondent
Category of respondent
Number of responses
% of total respondents
Local authorities, including Community Planning Partnerships
Regional/Local Development Partnerships
Private individuals and businesses (including MSPs)
Professional and Academic Bodies
A series of 8 public meetings were held across Scotland in order to publicise the consultation and to receive direct feedback on the Scottish Executive's proposals. Locations for the meetings were chosen in order to maximise coverage of different regions of rural Scotland, and to reflect the diverse challenges and opportunities facing different areas. The locations that were selected for the meetings are shown in Table 14.3.
Table 14.3 Locations of the public consultation meetings
Date of meeting
A summary of the results of the consultations is given in Annex 7, together with the response by the Scottish Executive. The results of the consultations revealed wide-ranging views but tended to support the Executive's high-level policy proposals for the SRDP. However, some adjustments were made in light of the findings to how some of our proposals would be implemented. For example, important changes were made to the structures for implementing the regional delivery of the SRDP.
Key stakeholders also participated in three Technical Working Groups that were set up by the Scottish Executive to identify and design measures for the SRDP. These groups covered Business Development, Natural Resources, and Countryside Issues respectively. Subsequent drafts of the SRDP and the measures proposed within were shared with the Executive's stakeholder group on the SRDP/ LMCs throughout autumn 2006 and spring 2007.
Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report
The Scottish Executive published the Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA) Environmental Report of the SRDP 2007-2013 on 18 May 2006. This was the beginning of a public consultation that ended on 29 June 2006. The report was prepared in accordance with The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes (Scotland) Regulations 2004 ( SI 2004 No. 258). The Environmental Report was designed to aid public participation in the decision making process, by providing a means to evaluate the environmental impact of the SRDP and help to promote sustainable development where appropriate. Only six responses were received, mostly from our statutory consultees.
The SEA identified: potential environmental impacts which could result from the implementation of specific actions or strategies; various mitigation strategies and measures which could be used to minimise or negate the impacts of these actions; and a number of future areas or activities for which further environmental assessments may be required before and during the implementation of the SRDP.
The environmental assessment indicated that none of the priority actions identified in any of the three themes in the SRDP developed in line with the three axes of the RDR were considered to have a significant negative impact on any of the objectives against which each action was assessed, indeed most comments suggested a positive environmental effect, as may have been expected given the nature of the SRDP.
However, the SEA did raise some minor environmental issues that could be addressed by the provision of mitigation or by amending the content of the Programme as it evolved. These points have been addressed. No major negative environmental impacts were identified.