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UNION CALLS FOR RENEWABLES EXPERT GROUP

NFU Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to proactively tackle the growing list of issues and challenges being experienced by farmers interested in renewable energy so that Scotland’s full potential for energy generation can be realised.

In a letter to John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, the Union urges the Scottish Government to build on its recently published 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy by commissioning an independent expert group to map out a clear, concise and deliverable renewables strategy.  

As well as mapping out the role to be played by all energy generating technologies – wind, hydro, anaerobic digestion, biomass, energy crops etc – the Union believes that group could also address the planning system constraints and inconsistencies that many members are experiencing around the planning system.

Commenting on the letter, NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller said:

“The Scottish Government's commitment to renewable energy is positive; it will not only contribute to world-leading climate change targets but will lay the foundations for a new green economy with positive spin-offs for Scottish technology and engineering.

“To date, the transformation of Scotland's energy base has been dramatic and the ambitious goal of having the capacity to generate 100% of our electricity requirement from renewable sources by 2020 is looking increasingly attainable. Farmers, crofters and landowners have already played a major part in this green revolution, and on-farm investment and collaboration will continue to be a key part of the growth in generation capacity.

“While renewable energy is an exciting opportunity for many of our members, they are looking to the Scottish Government to set out clear standards and priorities to guide and support that investment so the industry can continue to build upon its strengths and benefit Scotland as a whole.

“Feedback from members interested in the technology has shown that a major stumbling block to progress in this area is that the present regional planning approach can be unclear, and is nearing overload. We have a growing list of incidents where members believe planning authorities have failed to provide proportionate pathways for micro and major developments, and have been inconsistent in the standards demanded from applications. In addition, grid capacity is becoming a significant limiting factor in future developments.

“That is causing frustration and the Union believes that an independent expert group would be best placed to tackle such issues and ensure that the protocols and standards needed to guide future investment and planning decisions around renewables are set and agreed at a national level.
 
“For the growing number of interested businesses, it would be of considerable benefit were they to receive a clear steer on the mix of technologies, the prioritisation of grid development and the roles of micro and major generation schemes in Scotland.  This is necessary if we are realise the potential of a blossoming renewable energy economy and also maintain the buy-in and commitment of those who are prepared to invest in the future.”

Date Published:

News Article No.: 129/11


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