A PLANNING application for new homes near Edinburgh Zoo may be called in over health concerns for its giant pandas, the Scottish Government has said.

There are fears the pandas could be affected during construction. Scottish ministers have sent a letter to Edinburgh City Council directing them to notify the government if permission is granted for the 78-home redevelopment of Corstorphine Hospital, so they can decide whether to take the decision out of the council’s hands.

The letter states this is due to issues of “national importance” which include “possible negative health impacts for giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo during construction”.

Labour has criticised the move, and linked it to the government calling in a planning application for a Chinese-backed offshore wind farm development in East Lothian.