On 14 March 2012, The Highland Council's Planning, Environment and Development Committee approved the Onshore Wind Energy: Interim Supplementary Guidance. It provides a spatial framework to guide the location of large windfarms, development guidelines for all locations and additional guidance and will be used as a material consideration when dealing with applications for development. This planning document supplements the Highland-wide Local Development Plan and supersedes parts of the Highland Renewable Energy Strategy and Planning Guidelines (2006).
A full publication version of the Interim Supplementary Guidance will be made available here shortly, including larger scale maps. In the meantime the guidance in the format as reported to and agreed by Committee is available for you to download using the link below:
Larger scale maps of the spatial framework are available here:
The spatial framework mapping will also be made available upon request (subject to agreement to an End User Licence) in an Arc Map format for use in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
The Interim Supplementary Guidance will be progressed to statutory adoption in due course.
Information is available below on:
- earlier draft guidance, consultation on it and revisions made
- landscape and visual (including cumulative) considerations
- related screenings and assessments of the guidance (covering equalities, environment and European conservation site interests)
- stand-alone Draft Supplementary Guidance for Small-Scale Wind Turbine Proposals
If you have any questions or wish to request the spatial framework mapping for use in GIS, please contact the Development Plans Team on 01349 886 608 or firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to: Director of Planning and Development, Planning and Development Service, The Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX or by fax to: (01463) 702298
Earlier Draft Guidance, Consultation and Revisions
Approval of the Interim Supplementary Guidance follows consultation on Draft Supplementary Guidance (April 2011) and subsequent consideration of issues and draft revised guidance by the Planning, Environment and Development Committee at its meetings on 18 January 2012 and 14 March 2012.
Landscape and Visual Issues
An important consideration for wind energy developments is impact on landscape and on views, including cumulative impact. The Highland-wide Local Development Plan requires consideration of these issues. The Council is continuing work to develop guidance on these issues for specific areas and any update required to the Supplementary Guidance will be brought forward in due course. Relevant material is available for reference, particularly in Appendix 1 of the earlier Draft Supplementary Guidance (April 2011) and in Background Materials available below.
Preparation of the Draft Supplementary Guidance (April 2011) was informed by an assessment of landscape sensitivity to wind turbine development in Highland, undertaken by Macaulay Scientific Consulting Limited (now James Hutton Institute) with a Client Steering Group including representatives from the Council, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Scottish Natural Heritage. That report is therefore a technical background paper. The study was carried out for use at a strategic level and does not provide the assessment of individual windfarm sites. The Landscape & Visual Impact Assessment of a specific windfarm proposal will normally require identification of, and analysis for, additional visual receptors in order to consider specific impacts at a local level. The consultant’s report is available below:
The maps contained within that report are also available below individually in a form that makes their content easier to read (see the above report for explanation as to the content and make-up of each map):
- Figure 2.2: Theoretical visibility from Munros and Corbetts (7 km) (pdf, 3694 kb)
- Figure 2.3 Theoretical visibility from Munros and Corbetts (35 km) (pdf, 3267 kb)
- Figure 3.1 Revised Landscape Character Assessment (pdf, 2833 kb)
- Figure 4.1 Landscape Character Assessment and Viewpoints and Viewing Cones (pdf, 2912 kb)
- Figure 4.2 Landscape Character Assessment and Windfarms (pdf, 3179 kb)
- Figure 4.3 Theoretical visibility of windfarms (area within 25km of windfarm) and landscape designations (pdf, 3853 kb)
- Figure 4.4 Theoretical visibility of windfarms (calculated) (pdf, 3330 kb)
- Figure 4.5 Theoretical visibility of windfarms (calculated) and landscape designations pdf, 3565 kb)
- Figure 5.1 Landscape Sensitivity - Visual receptors: Munros and Corbetts (pdf, 3653 kb)
- Figure 5.2 Landscape Sensitivity - Visual receptors: Routeways (pdf, 3457 kb)
- Figure 5.3 Landscape Sensitivity - Visual receptors: Settlements and Dwellings (pdf, 3854 kb)
- Figure 5.4 Landscape Sensitivity - Combined visual receptors (pdf, 2555 kb)
The Council used that report and undertook further work to develop policy and guidance content on landscape and visual matters within the April 2011 Draft Supplementary Guidance. The following background paper outlines the work that was undertaken.
Work on visual and landscape impact, including cumulative impact, continues with key partners, and any update required to the Guidance will be brought forward in due course.
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The Council's suite of supplementary guidance for onshore wind energy is subject of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to assess the level of significance of any environmental impacts. The Environmental Report was subject of a six-week consultation from 23 August to 4 October 2012 as was detailed in the public notice. The Council is now assessing the responses received. The SEA work published to date can be found below:
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Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA)
The guidance will be subject of assessment in respect of European conservation site interests prior to its statutory adoption. Further information on such assessment, known as Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA), will be published here in due course.
Equalities Impact Assessment (EqIA)
An Equalities Impact Assessment (EqIA) Screening was undertaken which has determined that a full EqIA will not be required. The screening report is available using the link below:
Stand-alone Interim Supplementary Guidance for Small-Scale Wind Turbine Proposals has been prepared to provide guidance on the level of information that should accompany planning applications and prior notification/approval applications for small-scale wind turbine developments. Draft guidance was the subject of a six-week consultation from 23 August to 4 October 2012 as was detailed in the public notice. The Council has assessed the responses received. Subject to minor changes being made, a revised version of the guidance was approved as Interim Supplementary Guidance by the Planning, Environment and Development Committee on 14 November 2012 for use as a material consideration on decision-making, pending its statutory adoption. To view the guidance and minute of decision, see Reports and Minutes. The Interim Supplementary Guidance will be published here shortly.
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