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New UK Planning Guidance for Renewable Energy Developments

New planning guidance for renewable energy developments published by the Executive today puts a requirement on all new developments to reduce carbon emissions by at least 15 per cent.

First Minister Jack McConnell told the Scottish Renewables annual conference that no other country in the UK had yet gone as far in its commitment to reducing emissions.

Mr McConnell said:

"Over the next few years we must continue to support renewable energy developments and our planning guidance published today, which is the most advanced planning framework in the UK, will allow us to do that.

"Crucially, our new guidance doesn't just apply to large scale developments. It also puts a requirement on all new developments to reduce carbon emissions by at least 15 per cent.

"No other country in the UK has gone so far. But this is just a first step. We will look to increase this condition in the future.

"We know that a balance must be struck between protecting our natural heritage and giving the go-ahead to new renewable schemes. But the bottom line is that we will not have an environment to protect if we do not take action on climate change. Action now is imperative and I believe we are firmly on the right path."

Over the past five years we have:

  • Put in place Scotland's first sustainable development strategy, with a strong environmental justice theme

  • Increased recycling of municipal waste from 6 per cent to almost 25 per cent and are on track to meet the target of 55 per cent by 2020

  • Improved the quality of water, particularly bathing water

  • Put in place a climate change programme

  • Invested over £100 million (in the past three years alone) to support renewables and initiatives on energy efficiency

  • Committed a further £25 million to support the Clean Energy Strategy

  • Made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and generate more energy from renewable sources

Mr McConnell continued:

"Five years on and our climate change programme is recognised as being among the biggest and best in the world and we are making great strides in tackling a range of environmental issues. But there is still more to be done and we must continue to lead the way and be forward thinking to make further progress."

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