United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Policy inadequate say greens

Even before the Scottish Office revealed the results of its second round of renewables support, the Scottish Renewables Order (SRO) had come under unprecedented fire for its inadequacies in promoting clean power technologies from the majority of Scotland's environmental groups.

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Even before the results of the second Scottish Renewables Order (SRO) were released, the legislation had come under unprecedented fire for its inadequacies in promoting clean power technologies from most of Scotland's environmental groups.

Scottish Wildlife and Countryside Link (SWCL) -- a consortium of 16 environmental non-government organisations -- belives the SRO places too much emphasis on price. "We wish to see a better balance struck between price per kilowatt hour and the potential environmental impact. We also wish to see greater account taken of the benefits of local generation," it says. The SRO's complex and costly procedures, with little guarantee of success, discourage small developers and community groups, adds SWCL. The group calls for more emphasis on renewable schemes that are driven from community initiatives, or where community benefit is a main objective, along with changes in taxation to favour renewables, and more support for photovoltaics, wave power and micro-scale systems. Its members include Friends of the Earth Scotland, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Ramblers Association Scotland, Plantlife, Scottish Council for National Parks and Scottish Wildlife Trust.

On the day following the SWCL's attack, a second barrage against the SRO came from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Scotland and the British Wind Energy Association's Scotland branch. They had joined forces to call for increased support for renewables. The two organisations claim the size of the SRO is constraining the renewable energy industry. Moreover, the price mechanism is pushing it into areas of greater environmental sensitivity. "As a result, an industry with a clear environmental imperative is increasingly being portrayed as a cause of environmental damage, rather than a solution to it."

They called for a larger allocation of contracts and a separate band for small projects. "Wind energy is potentially as significant an income source for rural Scotland as forestry or farming. A specific commitment to encourage small scale schemes, particularly suited to rural communities and farmers, would help to improve the economic benefits to these groups and increase support for renewables in rural areas," it states.

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