Revised planning system offers ‘major step forward’ for solar in Scotland

Solar PV generation falls 5.9% in 2021 despite increases in capacity

Published: 11 Nov 2022, 17:47

Scotland missed its 100% gross renewable energy consumption target by only 1.4% in 2021. Image: Getty.

The Scottish Government have released a new planning system, National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4), this week which shows how planners will be expected to treat solar developments across Scotland.

The revision will be considered by members of Scottish Parliament who are due to vote on its adoption before the new year and could help Scotland reach its 100% gross renewable energy consumption target.

Policies under Part 2 – National Planning Policy of the NPF4 include ensuring “significant weight” is given to the climate crisis when considering all development proposals and facilitating developments that “minimise emissions” and adapt to “the current and future impacts of climate change.”

Senior policy manager at industry body Scottish Renewables Mark Richardson stated that an effective response to the climate emergency must include a net-zero-driven planning system. These planning reforms, Richardson continues, “provide a key opportunity to deliver this ambition.”

In the ministerial foreword for NPF4, minister for public finance, planning and community wealth, Tom Arthur stated: “Putting the twin global climate and nature crises at the heart of our vision for a future Scotland will ensure the decisions we make today will be in the long-term interest of our country.”

The revision closely follows a letter written by two dozen Scottish companies urging their ministers to alter planning law to boost solar capacity. In October this year, the Scottish Government also pledged to reform its planning rules for solar energy to help incentivise rooftop installations in Scotland

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