Other Development Planning & Environment responsibilities
In addition to being responsible for the preparation of the development plan, the Development Planning & Environment team also undertakes the preparation of the annual Housing Land Audit (HLA), maintains the council's Register of Vacant and Derelict Land and manages the process of protecting trees and which sometimes culminates in the making of Tree Preservation Orders.
Local authorities are required to conduct an annual survey of the housing land supply, the Housing Land Audit, to determine completions within the timeframe and update forecasts of the housing land supply. This, in turn, helps inform land releases within the Local Development Plan process and ongoing development management decisions.
Vacant land is defined by the Scottish Government as 'land viewed as an appropriate site for development, having either had previous development on it or preparatory work in anticipation of future development'. Derelict land is that 'damaged by development, so that it is incapable of development for beneficial use without some remedial works'. Both relate to land that is capable of being reused but due to particular issues with the condition of a site, new development has not occurred. They are sometimes referred to as 'brownfield' sites.
Trees and woodlands contribute to local amenity and the quality of the natural and historic environment. Tree preservation orders protect important trees and woodland in West Lothian from felling, and from works which might damage them.