Renewable energy projects at the forefront of Planning case work
2013 has seen the Council receive its largest number of major pre-application enquiries in connection with renewable energy projects. In total 38 potential applications have been presented to the Planning and Development Service - an increase of 10 from those processed in 2012.
The largest number of projects are related to potential wind energy proposals, a story repeated in the number of applications also being received for Environmental Screening, Scoping and ultimately in the submission of both planning applications to the Council and Section 36 Electricity Act applications to Scottish Government.
Malcolm Macleod, Head of Planning and Building Standards, has highlighted that keeping on top of all these potential projects is no easy task. New projects are brought forward every month, but not all continue through to the submission of an application. Once submitted it can be many months before an application is fully determined and then can take several years for construction to take place.
Members of both the North and South Planning Application Committees are kept informed on the progress being made on major applications that have been lodged with the Council, but this presents only part of the story. The planning system involves much earlier consultation on potential applications particularly with the respective local communities.
The Council has recently received an updated dataset on all its current wind farm projects. The dataset and map, commissioned through Inverness business Architech, allows a quick visual reference of large scale wind farms currently being recognised in Highland.
This information can be found on the homepage of the Council’s website. It is scalable to allow all local communities to identify projects in their area.