1. Scotland has one of the most ambitious climate targets in the world, with its Climate Change Bill setting out a legally binding target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2045. By 2030, Scottish Ministers want renewable energy generation to account for 50% of energy demand across electricity, heat and transport. Renewable energy is one of the best tools Scotland has to combat climate change, alongside other low carbon energy solutions; these will provide the basis of Scotland's future energy resource and contribute to meeting emissions reduction targets. In 2020, renewables accounted for 98.6% of Scotland's electricity, mostly from wind power. Onshore wind is the biggest single technology within the renewables sector, although other technologies include offshore wind, hydro and solar.
2. Onshore wind is one of the most cost-effective approaches to renewable technology and thus is an integral element of the renewables sector, which, according to recent statistic updates from Scottish Government, accounts for around 60% of capacity. Moving forward, there is also significant additional capacity in onshore wind developments across Scotland, with many projects either currently in planning or already consented. Closure of the Renewables Obligation in 2015 and lack of Pot 1 auction in the Contracts for Difference (CfD) process has had significant impact on the scale of onshore wind projects delivered in recent years. However, the UK government decision to reopen Pot 1 from AR4 onwards is a positive step towards enabling effective competition for projects and reduced costs to consumers.
3. In December 2017, the Scottish Government (SG) published its Onshore Wind Policy Statement, setting out its ambitions for the future of onshore wind in Scotland. Given the recent commitment to net-zero by 2045, the SG has recently drafted an updated Onshore Wind Policy Statement which reflects net-zero ambitions.
4. In October 2021, a consultation was launched to gather views on the draft Onshore Wind Policy Statement. Findings will be used to help the SG better understand public views on the role of onshore wind in contributing to the net-zero target and how economic opportunity can be maximised while also protecting Scotland's natural heritage.
5. In total, there were 160 responses to the consultation, of which 111 were from organisations and 49 from individuals. Respondents were assigned to respondent groupings to enable analysis of any differences or commonalities across or within the various different types of organisations and individuals that responded. Table 2 below shows the number of respondents in each organisational category.
Table 1: Respondent Groups: Number
- Acoustics: 3
- Aviation Specialists : 5
- Communities : 18
- Government funded bodies and regulators: 7
- Legal: 2
- Lobby and interest groups: 13
- Local authorities & planners: 14
- Renewable Energy: 43
- Third sector (e.g. Charities and other NGOs): 2
- Other : 4
- Total organisations : 111
- Individuals: 49
- Total respondents : 160
6. A list of all those organisations that submitted a response to the consultation and agreed to have their name published is included in Appendix 1.
7. Responses to the consultation were submitted using the Scottish Government consultation platform Citizen Space, or by email.
8. It should be borne in mind that the number responding at each question is not always the same as the number presented in the respondent group table. This is because not all respondents addressed all questions. This report indicates the number of respondents who commented at each question.
9. The researchers examined all comments made by respondents and noted the range of issues mentioned in responses, including reasons for opinions, specific examples or explanations, alternative suggestions or other comments. Grouping these issues together into similar themes allowed the researchers to identify whether any particular theme was specific to any particular respondent group or groups.
10. Throughout the report, when referring to respondents who made particular comments, the terms 'a small number', 'a few' and so on have been used. While the analysis was qualitative in nature, as a very general rule of thumb it can be assumed that: 'a very small number' indicates around 2-3 respondents, 'a small number' indicates around 4-6 respondents; 'a few' indicates around 7 to 9; and 'some' indicates 10 or more but fewer than half of those who commented at any question. Where larger numbers of respondents are referred to, a 'significant minority' represents 10-25% of respondents, a 'large minority' is denoted by 25-50% of respondents, and 50%+ is 'a majority'.
11. When considering group differences however, it must also be recognised that where a specific opinion has been identified in relation to a particular group or groups, this does not indicate that other groups did not share this opinion, but rather that they simply did not comment on that particular point.
12. While the consultation gave all who wished to comment an opportunity to do so, given the self-selecting nature of this type of exercise, any figures quoted here cannot be extrapolated to a wider population outwith the respondent sample.
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