The code has been prepared in accordance with the principles of the citizen's charter as a user-friendly guide to the local plan inquiry process. It stresses the need for full consultation on the draft plan and how the early exchange of documents and continuing negotiations between parties can help to make the whole process more efficient and effective.
It is aimed at planning authorities, businesses, environmental and community interests and individuals and updates the previous version issued in 1985 by taking account of the best practice which has evolved in the inquiry process since that time.
Mr Kynoch said: 'The code of practice for local plan inquiries which I have issued today forms part of a package of measures on development planning which we have undertaken as part of our response to the review of the Scottish planning system. The new code follows up on the publication earlier this year of a Local Plan Service Standards Document and a Planning Advice Note on Local Planning.
The Code of Practice for Local Plan Inquiries, which is issued under cover of The Scottish Office Development Department Circular No. 32/1996, has been prepared in consultation with COSLA and following a limited consultation exercise. Of the 31 responses received from local authorities and other interests all welcomed the decision to update the code.
Copies can be obtained from Kelly Wood, The Scottish Office Development Department, Planning Division, 2-H41, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ (Tel 0131-244-7066).