Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has launched guidance designed to make planning applications for wind energy developments run more smoothly for developers, planning authorities and the communities affected.
The guidance is a result of the GP Wind Project, a Scottish-Government led EU project which looked at the barriers to development of wind energy and ways of reconciling renewable energy objectives with environmental concerns, and actively involving communities in the planning process. The guidelines were developed in partnership with a wide range of interested parties, including the RSPB, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, SSE and Scottish Power Renewables.
Mr Ewing also announced an “onshore wind taskforce”, which will look at ways to improve the planning consent process for onshore wind while keeping communities involved, consulted and informed, by bringing key players in the planning system including the Scottish Government, developers and statutory consultees (including Scottish Natural Heritage, SEPA, and planning authorities) together to critically examine current procedures.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:
“I’m 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.”]
For more details visit http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2012/08/wind21812