The Scottish Government consulted on proposed revisions to fees for processing applications under the Electricity Act 1989 (“the Act”). A written consultation paper was published on 19 February 2018 and, following a two week extension to the original deadline, the period for written responses closed on 28 May 2018.
This document sets out the Scottish Government’s response to the consultation and details the conclusions Ministers have reached and the changes which will be implemented. We have carefully considered all comments received throughout the consultation process. An analysis of these comments has been carried out, which is published in a separate document entitled “Fees Charged for Applications under the Act – Analysis of Consultation Responses” (subsequently referred to as the “analysis report”). The analysis report should be read alongside this document.
While we are respecting the aims of the Scottish Public Finance Manual on charges for public services, we are purposefully supporting high priority investment in low carbon generation while making sure we are adequately resourced to deliver an appropriate level of service that contributes to the delivery of the Energy Strategy. The Scottish Government’s conclusions on changes to be implemented can be summarised as follows:
- Fees shall be revised in a manner which takes account of the comments received through the consultation. A balance must be struck between the policy objectives of the Energy Strategy and the aims of public finance management given by the Scottish Public Finance Manual.
- Upfront costs for pre-application and scoping stages shall not be implemented at this time.
- The fees to be implemented will be lower than those which were consulted on for applications to construct or extend a generating station, and we have revised the categories and thresholds. Our fees will be closely aligned with the equivalent fees paid under local planning, for example, a 51MW wind farm will require a fee no greater than a 50MW wind farm would under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.
- Greater remuneration to planning authorities in relation to onshore applications than proposed in the consultation. A voluntary contribution shall continue to be made to Planning Authorities, now to be equivalent to one half of the fee received for applications for:
1. onshore electricity generation development under section 36 and 36C of the Act for which the revised fee is paid, and
2. EIA development applications under section 37 of the Act for which the revised fee is paid.
- Service improvements continuing – proactive project management, progress towards greater certainty around determination timescales and support discussion with a range of stakeholders.
- Revisions to the bands, thresholds and fee categories while maintaining a fixed fee structure based on installed capacity for section 36 applications and based on length of overhead lines for section 37 applications.
- The revised fees will be implemented by amendment of the Electricity (Applications for Consent) Regulations 1990. This would be subject to a negative procedure in the Scottish Parliament. Ministers aim to implement the revised fees from May 2019.
- Monitoring - following the implementation of the revised fee levels the Scottish Government shall monitor the effects of the changes.
Email: Energy Consents Unit