Planning & Environment

I’ve already noted that the Main Issues Report for NPF3 identifies low carbon as a priority in its own right, whereas in NPF2 it is part of promoting a greener Scotland.

The Report says that the key questions are about the spatial implications of the existing energy policies and commitments, and what new development and infrastructure investment is needed to help deliver them. Much of the new development and investment has already been identified in the policies and commitments, so there’s no surprises. The interest is in which of the projects are prioritised as national developments:

  • onshore wind – spatial guidance at a national level, including use of SNH mapping for wild land (this is also raised in the draft SPP);
  • offshore renewables – key onshore infrastructure requirements to be national development;
  • baseload electricity generation – national developments: Peterhead CCS project; carbon dioxide transportation hub at St Fergus; Captain project at Grangemouth (c700MWe Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle Power Station with carbon capture; Longannet and Cockenzie – new or refurbished electricity generating plant to be fitted with carbon capture technology and carbon storage facility;
  • electricity transmission, distribution and storage – national development to include connections to Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles; England; and Norway;
  • gas pipeline network – enhancements recognised as a “nationally important aspiration”;
  • National Renewables Infrastructure Plan (NRIP) – prioritising improvements in infrastructure it identifies, but not designating these as national developments, except the expansion of Aberdeen Harbour.

So the spatial strategy will designate national developments, but it will recognise and prioritise other developments too. It’s frustrating that there’s little explanation of the criteria used to draw this distinction, and also of what the distinction will actually mean in practice.

Neil Collar

Partner at Brodies LLP
Neil is a partner at Brodies LLP and consistently rated as one of Scotland’s leading planning lawyers. He is well known for both his planning inquiry advocacy and his advisory work. Neil has a particular interest in renewable energy developments.
Neil Collar