Scottish government issues guidance for windfarm planning applications

Published on Friday, 14 September 2012 10:26
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

Fergus Ewing, Energy Minister has set out guidance on planning applications for wind energy developments aimed to assist developers, planning authorities and communities in their applications.

The guidance is a result of the GP Wind Project, a Scottish-Government led EU project on the barriers to the development of wind energy, particularly in relation to the planning process.

The RSPB, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Scottish Power Renewables and SSE have all been involved in the published guidance.

Ewing said:

"I am delighted to launch these materials, developed with industry, planning authorities and stakeholders, which aim to make the planning process for wind developments go more smoothly for everyone involved. The Scottish Government wants to see the right developments in the right places, and this guidance will help to ensure that – while also making sure there are fewer unsuitable applications and that communities are properly consulted and informed." "We have set an ambitious, but achievable, renewable energy target and we are determined to ensure that communities all over Scotland benefit from our renewable energy revolution, which is already bringing jobs and investment. But we are determined that this should be done in an sustainable way, sympathetic to the needs of communities and protecting the environment and our fantastic natural heritage." "This project supports our drive to promote engagement with communities and consultees from the very beginning of a plan's development." Councillor Angus Campbell, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said:

"Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is pleased to have had the opportunity to participate in the GPWIND project. As an island community on the edge of Europe, the Outer Hebrides stand to lose the most from the impacts of Climate Change but these islands are also home to one of the best wind and wave resources in Europe." "If we are to decarbonise our energy supply, it is vital that the boundless energy resource in areas like the Outer Hebrides is accessed but that this is done in an environmentally responsible way. In this process, we need to address and resolve the challenges which currently hamper the implementation of wind generation, on and offshore, across Europe." "We view GPWIND as a huge step forward in building a collective understanding of these challenges and the outputs of GPWIND will help us to develop and sustain good practice, enabling our area to become a power house for Europe while sustaining and developing fragile communities." Aedan Smith, Head of Planning and Development at RSPB Scotland, added:

"We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the Scottish Government and other partners from across Europe on the GP Wind project. Given the challenge facing wildlife and people from climate change, we support the continued development of an environmentally sustainable wind energy industry as a proven way to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions." "However, wind energy developments must be sited and designed to avoid damaging our best places for wildlife. The good practice guide and toolkit produced by the GP Wind project should help ensure this happens. We encourage all those involved in the development of wind energy to apply good practice in line with the guide." The launch of the Government's Onshore Wind Taskforce will look at further ways to improve the planning consent process for onshore wind whilst keeping communities involved.

Source: ©Green Energy UK

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