Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

Supplementary Guidance on Renewable Energy

Presentation by Mr Charles Johnston, Principal Officer, Plans and Research.


5.               Supplementary Guidance on Renewable Energy

5.1         The Chairman welcomed to the meeting Mr Charles Johnston, Principal Officer Plans and Research, to give a presentation on the Supplementary Guidance on Renewable Energy.   Mr Johnston gave the background to the preparation of the Supplementary Guidance.  One of the recommendations of the Local Development Plan, adopted on 12 May 2016, was to prepare, within one year, a Supplementary Guidance on Renewable Energy. Mr Johnston confirmed that a draft had been approved by Scottish Borders Council on 22 December 2016 and that there followed a 12 week public consultation period which would end on 17 April 2017.  He explained how responses to the Supplementary Guidance could be made.  In line with national support for the promotion of sustainable development and renewable energy the Council would continue to be supportive of renewable energy within appropriate locations. Shown within the presentation were maps of the Scottish Borders indicating all wind development applications of over 5 MW and under 5 MW, colour coded to show the status of each and the height to blade tip.  Looking at the policy context of the guidance, Scottish Planning Policy reaffirmed support for renewable energy and the need to attain national energy targets.  This was to achieve 100% of electricity from renewable energy by 2020.  However a balance must be sought; emphasising the right development in the right place and not to allow development at any cost.  The planning system should facilitate positive change while maintaining and enhancing distinctive landscape character.  There was general support of renewable energy within the Local Development Plan.  However if there were judged to be unacceptable significant adverse impacts, or effects which could not be satisfactorily mitigated, consent would only be granted if it was considered that the wider economic, environmental and other benefits outweighed any potential damage. The Guidance confirmed that the Council was also positive in its support of other renewable energy types; those referenced included micro renewables, field scale solar photovoltaics, biomass, energy from waste, anaerobic digestion, hydropower and ground source heat pumps.


5.2       Mr Johnston referred to the Wind Energy Spatial Framework within the draft Guidance and maps of the Scottish Borders were shown indicating: national scenic areas where wind farms would not be acceptable; areas of significant protection where wind farms may be appropriate in some circumstances; and areas with potential for wind farm development. Scottish Planning Policy also made reference to the need to consider Landscape Capacity and Cumulative Impact studies.  As a strategic study and starting point, an updated Landscape Capacity and Cumulative Impact Study had been produced by consultants.  Extracts from the study were shown in the presentation, including maps showing landscape capacity in areas of the Borders for turbines of different height ranges.  A summary map of opportunities and constraints was also shown.  Mr Johnston concluded the presentation by listing the development management considerations within the Supplementary Guidance, including those not previously mentioned such as impacts on communities, built heritage and archaeology, tourism and recreation, natural heritage, opportunities for energy storage and contribution towards renewable energy targets.  He advised that, following the consultation period an update of findings and conclusions would be referred back to elected Members in summer 2017.  The Supplementary Guidance would ultimately be referred to Scottish Ministers to become part of the Development Plan.  The Chairman thanked Mr Johnston and encouraged members of the Area Forum to look at the guidance and to respond as part of the consultation.



NOTED the presentation.




Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


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