Min­is­ters could step in over panda health fears

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS -

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has said that a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion near Ed­in­burgh Zoo could be called in over panda health con­cerns.

The zoo is home to two giant pan­das on loan to Scot­land from China and con­cerns have been raised a planned neigh­bour­ing hous­ing de­vel­op­ment could af­fect the an­i­mals dur­ing con­struc­tion.

Scot­tish min­is­ters have now sent a let­ter to Ed­in­burgh Coun­cil di­rect­ing them to no­tify the gov­ern­ment if per­mis­sion is granted for the 78-home re­de­vel­op­ment of Corstor­phine Hos­pi­tal, so they can de­cide whether or not take the de­ci­sion out of the coun­cil’s hands.

The let­ter states this is due to is­sues of “na­tional im­por­tance” which in­clude “pos­si­ble neg­a­tive health im­pacts for giant pan­das at Ed­in­burgh Zoo dur­ing con­struc­tion”.

It con­tin­ues: “This di­rec­tion does not com­mit min­is­ters to call­ing in any such ap­pli­ca­tion but it does re­serve their right to in­ter­vene.”

Labour has crit­i­cised the move and linked it to the gov­ern­ment call­ing in a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for a Chi­nese-backed offshore wind farm de­vel­op­ment in East Loth­ian, which the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has in­sisted is not con­nected to the First Min­is­ter meet­ing the par­ent firm on her China visit last week.

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