Wind farm fund to speed up council planning applications opened

September 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

A fund has been opened to give local councils an extra £300,000 to help them process the growing number of applications for wind turbines.

The move comes after Aberdeenshire and Fife councils called for a temporary halt to new applications from developers after being deluged with proposals.

The Scottish Government has set up a fund which will pay £280,000 directly to councils to spend on planning resources, as well as £20,000 which the Government will use to monitor and assess how the cash is spent.

The fund was first announced in June by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing as ministers asked councils to create “spatial frameworks” for wind turbines to help meet renewables targets.

Planning Minister Derek Mackay said the money was being released to prevent a backlog of applications building up.

He said: “We know that some planning authorities are experiencing particularly high volumes of applications for wind turbines, and the funding will help by bringing in expertise, or more staff, to deal with the applications.

“I have made clear that I do not think a moratorium on wind turbine applications is appropriate but would cause undue delay and uncertainty for everyone involved in applications. But I do recognise that some planning authorities are currently facing particularly high numbers of applications. This funding will help them deal with this.”

Conservative energy spokeswoman Mary Scanlon said the request had “sent out an open invitation to windfarm companies across the world to submit their applications in Scotland”.

She said: “Council planning departments are already under severe pressure to deal with these applications, and even the councils who do have preferred areas of development are receiving speculative applications en masse for places they have stated are not suitable.

“Releasing £300,000 may help some departments to a point, but it won’t be enough given the sheer volume of applications.”

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