Onshore Wind Strategic Leadership Group minutes: 15 March 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 15 March 2023.

Attendees and apologies

Members in attendance

  • Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport
  • Claire Mack, SR Chair, Scottish Renewables
  • Ragne Low, SG Deputy Chair, Scottish Government 
  • Morag Watson, Sector Deal Lead, Scottish Renewables 
  • Mark Richardson, Sector Deal Deputy, Scottish Renewables
  • Neil Douglas, Scottish Renewables Sector Deal Support, BVG Associates
  • Alex Davies, Techincal Barriers Deputy, Renewable UK
  • Darren Hemsley, Land Use and Environmental Considerations Deputy, Nature Scot
  • Simon Gill, Legislative and Regulatory Barriers Lead, The Energy Landscape
  • Neil Collar, Planning Considerations Deputy, Brodies
  • Chris Morris, Community Energy Lead, Local Energy Scotland
  • Barry Carruthers, G12 Representative, Scottish Power Renewables
  • Paul Wheelhouse, Supply Chain, Skills and Circular Economy Lead, South of Scotland Enterprise


  • Marcus Trinick KC, Planning Considerations Lead
  • Sam Johnson, Techincal Barriers Lead, Renewable Energy Systems Ltd
  • Robbie Kernahan, Land Use and Environmental Considerations Lead, NatureScot

Items and actions

Welcome and Introductions

The Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport and Scottish Renewables (SR) chair welcomed the Onshore Wind Strategic Leadership Group (SLG) Members to the second SLG meeting and invited substitute attendees to introduce themselves. The Cabinet Secretary reaffirmed the role of the Onshore Wind SLG and prospective Sector Deal which is to remove barriers to the further deployment of onshore wind and maximise economic, environmental, community and social benefit in Scotland. 

Sector Deal Scoping Document 

BVG Associates (BVGa) provided an overview of the Scoping Document. SLG members highlighted the following:

The crossovers between onshore and offshore wind supply chain developments and the supply chain benefits that repowering presents, including the potential for transferring existing turbines to new sites that promote community benefit. 

Significant goodwill on all sides to promote community benefits from onshore wind developments and the desire to see stronger partnerships between onshore wind developments and local communities, in particular through community shared ownership. This requires that communities have the resources to identify their priorities and handle large scale projects effectively. 

The need to balance the Scottish Government’s (SG) land use targets on biodiversity, peatland restoration and forestry with increased onshore wind deployment. In this area, the National Planning Framework 4 was highlighted, which looks to tackle both the climate emergency (through renewable energy developments) as well as increasing biodiversity. 

The link between planning approval timelines and resources, noting the difficulties that local authorities face in meeting planning approval timelines, due to lack of resources. The group agreed to consider creation of a shared resource pool that could be used to support planning authorities. 

The need for collaboration between the UK Government and other bodies, and for the Sector Deal to press the UK Government, Ofgem and transmission system operators to provide greater support for new grid connections to onshore wind developers and other transmission infrastructure. 

Issues related to new instrument flight procedures and aircraft route efficiency, which may require strategic regional solutions to ensure minimal impact on airports. 

Significant onshore wind developers and original equipment manufacturers recognise the mutual intention for collaboration and pragmatism across all themes in developing the Sector Deal, and their willingness to identify and confront issues, opportunities and solutions.

Agreed actions:

  • SG: to consider proposals for a shared resource pool to support planning authorities
  • BVGa and SLG members: to feedback on BVGa assessments of the repowering pipeline timeline and capacity, and explore the issue further with members
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