DRONES WILL BE USED by Moray Council in place of planning site visits by Councillors despite the reservations of the chairman of the committee.
Heldon & Laich councillor Chris Tuke expressed his own reservations over the plan to use aerial drones to survey sites that are the subject of future planning applications – however, the chairman was overruled as eight members of the planning and regulatory services committee backed the plan.
Now future planning applications that would have required Councillor’s being transported to the site could be studied by a drone – with the resulting video footage used to assess the rights or wrongs of an application.
Councillor Tuke spoke out against the plan proposed by his fellow Heldon & Laich member Allan Wright, saying that he had “grave reservations” over the use of the aircraft. He said: “I would remove any consideration of drones from this policy – the idea is all bells and whistles but I do not believe it gives the same benefits that ground photography does.”
His view was backed by Forres councillor George Alexander, who told the committee that in his view they were allowing a few exceptional planning cases drive policy.
However, Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor Douglas Ross reminded members that site visits threw up many problems in the past, where the view was not as clear as it might have been. He said: “We had a fruitless site visit to Cabrach last year for an extension to a wind farm – we had to traverse most of Moray to view it from different angles.
“We never got a great view of the hill in question and a drone would have solved a lot of the problems there, so using drones can be beneficial and can save time and money. But we should take a common sense approach in looking at individual cases.”
Members voted in favour of the option by eight votes to four, meaning that it will now go before the local authority policy and resources committee to seek the required funding for the idea.