The ST Andrews Environmental Protection Association Limited

The Association has been set up with the aim of protecting the environment of St Andrews and North East Fife.

The TayPlan

STEPAL response to the St Andrews Settlement Plan Section of the TayPlan:

Response to Proposed TayPlan

STEPAL (St Andrews Environmental Protection Association Limited) wishes to comment on the proposed Tayplan. Being a relatively new organisation, STEPAL has not been able to comment at previous stages of the TayPlan and our representations at this point are brief and focused on the major environmental issues which affect St Andrews and its surrounding area.

1. Transport Infrastructure and Carbon Emissions.
We believe that TayPlan should be more proactive in identifying ways in which carbon and particulate emissions can be controlled and reduced. The environmental and health impacts from vehicle emissions are well established and are of such a serious nature they deserve a particular focus in a strategic plan which deals with environmental issues. Vehicle congestion in St Andrews is now a serious problem and assessed to increase at a compound rate of approximately 2% per annum. Certain Streets in St Andrews are now subject to unacceptable levels of particulate emissions. In the view of STEPAL, such issues require active management, and as the TayPlan sets the broad objectives with which local plans are required to comply, leadership is required at the Strategic Plan Level. While a renewed rail link to St Andrews may not be practical, a light rail connection would be affordable and much easier to implement as it would be able to operate on streets as well as dedicated tracks. We consider that a study to assess such a link between Leuchars and St Andrews should be commissioned as part of the future work of the TayPlan team.

2. Protection of the Green Belt
St Andrews achieved a Green Belt in 2012 after many years of campaigning by local groups. It is sad commentary that this hard-won environmental asset is now under severe strain from developer ambitions and even Fife Council is promoting a major school building in a Green Belt location, which if achieved is acknowledged by the Council and SNH as being seriously damaging to the landscape setting of the town. St Andrews is a major destination for both UK and overseas visitors and receives extensive national and international TV and other media exposure especially during the Open and other major golf events held in the town and the character of the town needs to be conserved.

The possibility of erosion of the Green Belt so soon after its designation does not auger well for the future. It is disappointing that TayPlan has been silent on the issue of protecting the Green Belt and that the policies which are supposed to protect it are so weak that they are capable of being exploited for reasons of expediency rather than being subject to decisions informed by sensible and sustainable land use assessments. This is a policy area which, if the Tayplan is to provide a credible vision for the future, needs to set policies, procedures and standards for the protection of the environment rather than the current situation where it is nominally responsible for Green Belt, but takes no active part in commenting on planning applications which would erode it. The current practice if it was to remain unchanged could progressively remove considerable areas of designated Green Belt, ultimately making the remainder untenable by degrees and rendering the policy decision to establish it redundant.

Yours sincerely,

Sandra Thomson, Secretary, STEPAL.
Mary Jack, Chairperson, STEPAL
Lindsay Matheson, Treasurer, STEPAL.

St Andrews 3 July 2015

Contact Details:

Association Chairman
Association Secretary
Association Treasurer