Wind Energy

The Scottish Government through the publication of National Planning Framework 3 (NPF3) and Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) have emphasised the role that the planning system has to play in the transition toward a low carbon economy within Scotland.

Both documents reaffirm the need for an 80% reduction in green house gas emissions by 2050 and the need in the short term to have at least 30% of overall energy demand in 2020 met from renewable - this includes generating the equivalent of at least 100% of gross electricity demand from renewable sources.

Scottish Planning Policy also requires planning authorities, through their development plan, to ensure an areas full potential from renewable energy is achieved whilst at the same time giving due regard to environmental, community and cumulative impacts.

Scottish Planning Policy

To deliver national consistency Scottish Planning Policy sets out a new approach to the preparation of Spatial Frameworks for wind energy. This approach advocates the mapping of national interests within which wind farms will not be acceptable , National Parks and National Scenic Areas (there are no areas within South Ayrshire) and areas which will be afforded “significant protection”. Beyond these areas wind turbines are deemed to be acceptable subject to, detailed consideration against development plan policy criteria and an exacting development management process where the merits of an individual proposal will be considered against the full range of environmental, community and cumulative impacts.

Local Planning Policy

The Council acknowledge and recognise that they have a responsibility to find renewable energy locations that contribute to the overall national supply and that the local benefits arising from renewable energy are important to the future wellbeing of rural communities. They also recognise that current renewable energy policies present challenges, which could lead to a significant landscape change. It is the Councils view that this change has to be managed to ensure that an appropriate balance is achieved between the advantages of wind energy, community and developer interests.

The South Ayrshire Local Development Plan was adopted on the 23rd September 2014.

In their report on this plan the reporters, appointed by Scottish Ministers, concluded that a spatial framework for onshore wind farms should be developed and for this to be incorporated within appropriate supplementary guidance.

To help inform the drafting of this guidance the Council consulted in May 2015 on a number of issues. Views submitted on these issues can be viewed here. The responses to this consultation was subsequently reflected in the content of draft Supplementary Guidance. The consultations on this document closed on 7 August 2015. The views received by the council can be viewed here.

Final guidance has now been prepared. This was approved by the Council for adoption on 3rd November 2015 (Refer to wind energy SG timetable below). This final guidance has sought to reflect, where possible, the comments made during both consultations.

Thank you for your contribution in drafting this guidance.

Wind Energy Site Monitoring

To ensure compliance with the conditions attached to major wind farm consents and to ensure best practices are adopted which will mitigate possible impacts of the development on the environment the Planning Service will through an appropriate condition request regular reports from an independent monitoring consultant during the construction, operation and decommissioning phases of the development. As the reports become available to the Planning Service they will be published on line. These can be viewed below.

Supporting information for new guidance on wind energy development in South Ayrshire