This week the Scottish Government opened a consultation on a proposed amendment to building regulations which could make it simpler and more affordable to build a small, low impact hut for recreational use.
Currently huts and bothies have to meet building regulations in full, adding significant cost to their construction. However this consultation presents several ways to reduce the regulatory burden on them. One option under consultation is a proposal that huts and bothies should become exempt from the building regulations (with some exceptions). This exemption would be based on the creation of a new building type for huts and bothies, and a requirement that they are constructed in a way that meets key health and safety considerations. Reforesting Scotland’s upcoming publication ‘The Good Practice Guide to Hut Building’ could provide guidance to help hut builders meet this requirement.
Reforesting Scotland welcomes the consultation, and we are currently drawing up our own response to it, which we will circulate to our network soon. We would also like to encourage Thousand Huts supporters to look at the consultation papers and make their own responses. Consultation responses must be submitted by 12 February 2016.
Several significant concerns about the content of the consultation have been raised so far, including that the proposal seems to exclude huts which have a sleeping platform – and as all hutters know, sleeping platforms are a common feature in both huts and bothies. We will be looking at ways of addressing this and other concerns, and welcome debate amongst our network on these issues.
Overall, with this consultation the Scottish Government is making an important step towards helping to facilitate a new wave of simple, sustainable, small, low impact huts and bothies. If a positive and constructive amendment goes through it could help enable people of all income brackets to access nature, recreation and tranquility with their friends and families, in a way that would surely benefit society as a whole over the coming years.