Chapter 5: Protection for Residents and the Environment
Our draft OWPS set out the Scottish Government's view that onshore wind development should be compatible with the interests and protection of Scotland's environment and residents. It considered:
- Residential Amenity - Wind Farm Impacts Study, published by ClimateXChange (CXC) in 2015.
- Residential Amenity - ClimateXChange undertook a further study, on the potential impact of wind farm developments on house prices. This was completed in October 2016 and concluded no consistent negative effects were present.
- Peatland Policy - this policy brings together ambitions in relation to land use and energy and supports delivery of multiple benefits from our peatland.
- Carbon Calculator - the Scottish Government's tool, available to support the process of determining wind farm developments in Scotland. The purpose of the tool is to assess, in a comprehensive and consistent way, the carbon impact of wind farm developments. This tool was updated in June 2016 as a web-based application and central database.
74. The Scottish Government believes that our ambitious renewable energy goals are very much in the interests of Scotland's citizens and environment. We also believe that developments can and must strike the right balance between utilising Scotland's significant renewable energy resources whilst protecting our finest scenic landscapes and natural heritage.
75. The Wind Farm Impacts Study Report, published in 2015, was the first of its kind in the world and presented the findings of a two-year study involving a wide-range of interest groups. Since its publication, the Scottish Government has taken a number of actions to address the recommendations contained in the report.
76. The Scottish Government continues to believe that the draft Peatland Policy Statement and the Carbon Calculator support and add value to wind farm design and to the consenting process. However, we will continue to monitor their design, effectiveness and value in the future, and welcome the role and contributions that our stakeholders can play in this process.
77. We understand too that wild land remains an important issue for many stakeholders. The Scottish Government, through its planning policy and frameworks, continues to deliver significant protection for wild land areas, while avoiding a blanket restriction. We believe that this remains the right approach, and are determined to maintain what we believe is a strong track record on balancing environmental protection with our ambitious renewable energy goals.