Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Letters reveal SNP donor gets Ministerial intervention as SNP show their preference of business over people

Business in Scotland might now boil down to who you know in Government as letters reveal an SNP donor's planning application receives Ministerial intervention.

Now we know why the Justice Secretary is following Douglas Mill like some weeping puppy ?

The Herald reports :

Aviemore letters show unease at ministers’ intervention

DOUGLAS FRASER, Scottish Political Editor February 29 2008

The environment watchdog pressed by several ministers to speed up a planning application from a major SNP donor thought it was being put on "dodgy ground" by political interference.

Private correspondence in the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) shows top-level concerns that it could be seen to "buckle" if developers go to politicians and make enough fuss.

Other correspondence shows Alex Salmond was warned by his officials that to call in the Aviemore Mountain Resort planning application would be "inappropriate, if not unhelpful".

The Sepa chief executive, Campbell Gemmell, wrote to Jane Hope, chief executive of the Cairngorm National Park, the planning authority, express- ing his concerns.

"Application of political pressure is unacceptable and, if it is allowed to be shown to be a successful model, will be repeated," he wrote.

Mrs Hope replied: "We all harbour concerns about the appropriateness of the pressures applied."

Environment Minister Mike Russell claimed the documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, showed ministers were doing their job in ensuring the planning process ran properly.

He denied ministerial interest in the resort was linked to its ownership by Donald MacDonald, who gave £30,000 to the SNP for last year's campaign.

However, Labour's Jackie Baillie said the revelations showed "inappropriate pressure" had been put on planning authorities and the environment watchdog.

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