CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) DPEA OPERATIONS AND GUIDANCE ON UNACCOMPANIED SITE VISITS, PEM’s, HEARINGS AND INQUIRIES Planning Appeals, Local Development Plan examinations and other DPEA work This update reflects the Statements of the Prime Minister and First Minister yesterday evening. The vast majority of DPEA work can be carried out by or through written representations and, with immediate effect, becomes the default for all of our work. During Covid-19 restrictions, DPEA and appointed Reporters as far as possible will seek to keep casework and all other DPEA work progressing and in doing so will be guided by guidance issued by the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland. We recognise that the outbreak represents a very fast moving set of circumstances and any or all guidance will be updated as matters, and related professional advice, develop. Individual decisions will be made about individual circumstances in seeking to maintain business continuity as far as possible and as appropriate case officers will be in touch with parties in the period ahead. We would re-iterate our message that we are responding in turn to immediately upcoming procedures set down or required to be oral and ask you to continue to refrain from contacting DPEA case support workers with suggestions or motions for cancellation, postponement or adjournment of oral processes (or suggestions of alternative means of taking evidence not involving close personal contact). We will address issues arising from future oral procedures (already set) as soon as we can. Subject to use other than where not possible to written processes, we will try to continue with oral procedures, adapting those procedures if possible so that they can be conducted remotely by communications technology. The decisions on how oral procedures will be adapted are for the reporters to make in each case. All users of our services I hope will appreciate that this will involve changes in arrangements which will be designed to allow procedures set down or required to be oral to proceed but only using alternative technologies, reducing risks of the spread of the virus. If that is not possible, they will be sisted. Our office in Falkirk is now CLOSED until further notice. However, email communication remains in place. Our staff remain availability by means of telephone contacts, with staff dealing with enquiries to the maximum extent possible through call re-direct arrangements. Please continue to use the same phone numbers when needing to contact us.