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Urban Wind calls for planning changes in Scotland

Paul McCullagh, chief executive of UrbanWind
Paul McCullagh, chief executive of UrbanWind

Glasgow-based UrbanWind has called for a major overhaul of Scotland’s planning system in a bid to increase the number of new projects and ensure the government’s green targets are met.

The company warns that long delays in the planning process are blocking vital investment in renewable technology – which has the potential to help create 40,000 jobs in Scotland – as firms are deterred by the lengthy planning process that exists in the UK at present.

UrbanWind issued its warning following the publication of an Audit Scotland report looking at how the country is progressing in meeting ambitious government renewable energy targets.

Paul McCullagh, chief executive of UrbanWind, said: “Looking specifically at the small and medium wind energy sector, there is undoubtedly strong investor support and a definite appetite from companies, like UrbanWind, to make a significant contribution towards achieving these targets.

“However, the two biggest obstacles we currently face are unrelated to the economy, or UK energy policy, as suggested by Audit Scotland.

“They are, in fact, the legislative process involved in gaining planning approvals and securing an economic connection to the national grid.

“There is a willingness on the part of the various distribution network operators to engage with developers to try to achieve economic grid connections.

“We are content that, with some additional investment from the Scottish government, current issues around grid connections could be alleviated to help achieve the scale of sites required for deployment to meet the Scottish government’s targets.”