Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed a new Scottish Government action plan to kick-start developments in rural areas.

The need for planning permission could be removed for certain types of rural developments to help tackle depopulation and support the economy of the islands.

The changes are being considered as part of a new action plan to implement a radical shake-up of planning laws.

Under this review, small scale developments, such as the conversion of agricultural buildings to deliver more homes in the Western Isles, could automatically be given the go-ahead.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented: “Tackling depopulation and supporting the sustainability of our rural communities are critical issues and the planning system has an important role to play in that.  This planning review is one of a number of actions the Scottish Government is undertaking to grow Scotland’s rural areas.

“I am encouraged by what these changes could do for the islands and I hope they can aid in the fight against depopulation.”