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Last Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Green energy call for developers
Black Law wind farm
Councils would have to designate areas suitable for wind farms
New developments would have to generate at least 10% of their energy from on-site renewable sources under new guidelines proposed by ministers.

The Scottish Executive said it was leading the way as it unveiled a draft planning policy on renewable energy.

Ministers want councils to say which areas they think are suitable or unsuitable for wind farms.

The executive also wants planners to take greater account of the cumulative impact of such schemes on communities.

Under the guidelines, they would also have to pay more attention to issues such as natural heritage.

This policy sets out a framework for the future, identifying areas where development is most likely to be supported and those areas which should be avoided
Malcolm Chisholm
Communities Minister

Local authorities would also be urged to support a diverse range of renewable energy technologies and encourage their development.

The consultation on the proposals was launched by Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm at an Edinburgh housing development which has installed a rooftop wind turbine.

He said he wanted to go beyond the executive's target of generating 40% of Scotland's electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and that planning had a "vital role" to play.

He said the system needed to provide greater certainty to communities and to the renewables industry.

"This policy sets out a framework for the future, identifying areas where development is most likely to be supported and those areas which should be avoided," said Mr Chisholm.

Solar panels
Home owners are being asked to consider renewable options

"At the same time it also tackles issues about the cumulative impact of wind farms, and the potential harmful effect on local communities, tourism, scenery and historic buildings.

"We also want to encourage more householders to consider micro-renewable options for generating power on top of their home or in their back yard and how we can remove unnecessary red tape."

He said Scotland was the first part of the UK to propose that new developments should meet 10% of their energy needs from renewables.

"We are keen to hear everybody's views on how and where it should apply," he added.

The move was welcomed by Friends of the Earth Scotland's chief executive Duncan McLaren.

Benefits 'undermined'

He said that exceeding the 40% renewable energy target would show that nuclear power was not needed in Scotland.

Green MSPs also welcomed the proposed changes, saying that the executive was "at last beginning to listen".

But they warned that any benefits would be undermined by building new nuclear power stations and road projects like the M74 extension and Aberdeen bypass.

Cap needed

Meanwhile, the SNP published its Scottish energy review on Monday.

It said a cap may be needed on the number of onshore wind farms, with further developments going offshore.

It also said that Scotland produced six times more energy than it consumed, which the party said showed there was no need for new nuclear power stations north of the border.


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