- 2 Feb 2021
Date received: 16 Nov 2020
Date responded: 15 Dec 2020
1. How many planning applications for wind farms have been approved by the Energy Consents Unit/Scottish Ministers over the objections of the Highland Council in the last five years (to the date of the request).
2. How many planning applications for wind farms have been approved by the Energy Consents Unit/Scottish Ministers over the objections of community councils in the last five years (to date of the request).
3. How many planning applications for wind farms have been approved by the Energy Consents Unit/Scottish Ministers over the objections of local communities, i.e. individual objections numbering more than 20 in the last five years (to the date of this request)?
On the final part of your request, clarification was requested from you on how you would define ‘local communities’. You responded to clarify that you refer to those individuals who live within the Highland Council area and are impacted by the development of a wind farm. Specifically by “local communities” you refer to those who live or work within a reasonably short distance of a wind farm.
As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.
This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
1. 5 applications within the last 5 years have resulted in the grant of consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989, by the Scottish Ministers, where the Highland Council have objected to the proposed Development.
2. 35 applications in the last 5 years have resulted in the grant of consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989, or the variation of a consent under section 36c of the Electricity Act 1989, where a community council has objected to the proposed Development.
3. The Scottish Ministers do not hold the information requested, therefore an exception has been applied under regulation 10 (4) (a) of the EIRs. The reasons for the exception are explained at Annex A.
The Scottish Ministers are unable to provide an answer to question 3 because they do not hold the information you have asked for. The reason for this is the information held on public representations does not identify the distance from where someone lives or works to the windfarm within a 10 mile radius.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House