Developers, planning authorities and communities are all set to benefit from new guidance launched on 21 August by the Scottish Government.
The guidance is the product of the GP Wind Project, an EU-wide project led by Scottish-Government, involving a number of stakeholders, including RSPB, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, SSE and Scottish Power Renewables.
The project reviewed barriers to development of wind energy and, amongst other things, considered options for reconciling renewable energy targets with concerns for the environment and impacts on communities.
The new guidance can be found on the Good Practice Wind (or GP Wind) website.
The website centres on two key elements:
"The Good Practice Guide includes around 70 recommendations supported by over 130 examples of good practices, which are collected in three categories:
- Minimising environmental impact
- Optimising social acceptance
- Optimising spatial planning.
The Toolkit gives you access to 3 categories of documents:
- The online library, comprising more than 300 documents illustrating the good practices. Tools and guidance enabling you to assess some projects autonomously are also included.
- A Comparison by Country table, which enables comparison between 10 European countries with regard to environmental and regulatory issues, as well as those related to local community involvement.
- The 16 Thematic Case Studies, which served as the basis for the Good Practice Guide."
Also announced was an “onshore wind taskforce”. This taskforce is to consider what improvements can be made to the planning consent process for onshore wind. Community engagement is one of the key considerations for that taskforce. The taskforce will bring together the experience and knowledge of the Scottish Government, developers and statutory consultees (including Scottish Natural Heritage, SEPA, and planning authorities) "to critically examine current procedures".