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Scottish ministers publish onshore wind farm statement and energy strategy

Words: Roger Milne
Wind farm / Shutterstock

Scottish Government ministers have issued an updated onshore wind policy statement alongside publication of the country’s first energy strategy.

The statement stresses that backing for wind farms remains a key element of national planning policy, albeit with caveats.

“We must support development in the right places, and – increasingly – the extension and replacement of existing sites, where acceptable, with new and larger turbines, based on an appropriate, case by case assessment of their effects and impacts.”

As well as “repowering” existing sites, the statement highlights the need for “meaningful” community benefits and makes the case for more shared ownership of schemes.

Ministers note that wild land remains an important issue for many.

“The Scottish government, through its planning policy and frameworks, continues to deliver significant protection for wild land areas, while avoiding a blanket restriction. We believe that this remains the right approach, and are determined to maintain what we believe is a strong track record on balancing environmental protection with our ambitious renewable energy goals.”

The statement says the administration has dropped plans to extend the restriction zone around Eskdalemuir from 10 to 15 kilometres.

Ministers also make it clear that they would encourage developers to cooperate more over turbine siting in areas under cumulative pressure.

Meanwhile, the energy strategy just published highlights the need to champion Scotland’s renewable energy potential, improve the energy efficiency of the country’s building stock and empower communities by supporting innovative local energy systems and networks.

Read more:

Onshore wind policy statement

Energy strategy

Image credit | Shutterstock