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United Kingdom

Scottish onshore 'task force' formed

SCOTLAND: A task force has been formed to improve the planning consent process for onshore wind farms in Scotland.

The group was announced as the Scottish Government published new guidance giving advice for developers and communities on the smooth handling of onshore wind farm planning applications.

Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing said the task force would look at ways of improving the planning consent process for onshore wind projects by bringing together key players from the Scottish Government, developers and statutory consultees such as Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to "critically examine current procedures".

The guidance published alongside the launch of the task force is the culmination of the GP Wind Project, a Scottish Government-led EU initiative, which has 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.

Industry and environmental bodies including Scottish Power Renewables and the RSPB as well as local authorities were involved in producing the guidelines.

Ewing said: "This project supports our drive to promote engagement with communities and consultees from the very beginning of a plan’s development."

The guidance is available here

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