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‘Tough decisions ahead’ on onshore wind farms

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Consents have to be speeded up, says lawyer

Scotland will need to accelerate approval of onshore wind developments if the government is to meet its renewables targets, it has been claimed.

A renewables specialist says developers may need to collaborate if the government is to achieve its targets of installing 8GW of onshore wind by 2030, set out in the Bute House Agreement.

Fraser Gillies, managing partner at Scottish law firm, Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie (WJM) says the need to step up consents will spark more debate about where new onshore wind projects should be built, and tough decisions and compromises will need to be made.

He added: “The debate around the location of onshore wind projects isn’t new, but it is taking centre stage again as a result of the Bute House Agreement and the fact the eyes of the world are on Scotland ahead of COP26.

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“The onshore wind target is highly ambitious and if Scotland is to come close to achieving it, developers will need to rethink aspects of the way they do business. 

“The commercial imperative for developers is to get consent for their own projects, but it may be that they have to start working together rather than in silo to reduce the number of overall projects requiring consent.  We need a fresh and collaborative approach going forward.”

The issue is one of a range of topics which will be discussed at Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie’s annual renewables seminar ‘Onshore Wind and the Path to Net Zero’ in Glasgow on 4 November.

It will feature a panel of industry experts who examine likely policy trends as Scotland works towards its 2021 targets, and will discuss implications for developers of the emerging carbon units market and, in particular, what that will mean for landowner relations and the route to consent.

Mr Gillies continued: “There is a great deal to think about in the coming weeks, as the Scottish Government’s fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) is set to be released imminently, which will set out how the planning system will support the Government’s objectives and net-zero targets.

“Sustainability has leapt to the top of the agenda for many individuals and corporations, and it’s increasingly important for business owners to have a real awareness of these issues and how policy is shaping the landscape.”



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