Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Politicians blast north councils for lack of democracy under emergency powers

Jamie Halcro Johnston
Jamie Halcro Johnston

Calls have again been made for councils to be more transparent when making decisions during lockdown.

Local authorities across the north and north-east have been meeting online, but they are not being broadcast live – meaning members of the public sometimes have to wait until the next day to find out about decisions.

Now similar concerns have been raised in Moray.

Forres councillor Claire Feaver. Picture by Sandy McCook.

Councillor Claire Feaver said that as Moray planning committee was no longer meeting, and site visits had ceased, major applications were no longer being scrutinised – with officers taking decisions under new powers of delegation, unless the emergency committee calls them in.

Mrs Feaver said: “The longer the emergency goes on, the more likely it is that important planning decisions may take place without elected representatives being able to properly scrutinise them, and then vote on them, on behalf of their constituents.”

Highlands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston said communities need to have confidence in the planning process, adding: “They will have to live with these decisions long after the developers have departed to pursue their next project.”

Meanwhile, talk of council business resuming normally in Aberdeen has resulted in a fresh row.

Only planning, licensing and urgent business committee meetings are going ahead, all by video call. Urgent business has also been reduced from nine to five members.

Opposition leaders Alex Nicoll, from the SNP, and Ian Yuill, from the Lib Dems, have suggested regular committee meetings should resume online in August and that the urgent business committee should be reinstated to a full complement.

But council co-leader Jenny Laing said the current arrangements had only just been introduced, and said a report next month might help inform future decisions.

Mr Nicoll and Mr Yuill branded it “astonishing and disgraceful” that the administration would refuse to discuss the move.

Already a subscriber? Sign in