Scottish Government Plans Restrictions on Wind Farm Locations

Wind farms will no longer be allowed in Scotland’s wildest countryside and will have to be built farther from villages, towns and cities under restrictions proposed by the Scottish government.

The new National Planning Framework and the draft Scottish Planning Policy will ban the construction of wind farms in national parks and specially designated scenic areas covering 19 percent of the land, Planning Minister Derek Mackay said in an e-mailed statement today.

“We need to ensure developments go in the right place,” Stuart said in the statement. “The proposals will be used to guide future development that will help Scotland achieve its ambitious renewable energy targets and also increase protection for our country’s most environmentally important areas.”

Scotland is the windiest country in Europe, and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond’s flagship industrial policy is to generate all of Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020 in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.

The new planning policy refers to increased environmental protection for Scotland’s wild lands covering 31 percent of the country. Scottish Natural Heritage will draw up the maps defining those areas.

The decision to exclude large areas of the countryside suitable for wind farms could slow progress toward meeting Scotland’s renewable energy targets, Jenny Hogan, policy director of industry body Scottish Renewables, said in a statement on the organization’s website.

As part of the new framework the government wants to build two carbon-capture-and-storage facilities at Peterhead and Grangemouth. Aerospace industry development should be centered in and around Prestwick airport, the government proposed.

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