The Scottish Government and its agencies support the development of renewable energy, including wind farms, as a key means of tackling climate change.
Considerable experience has been gained from the construction and operation of wind farms across Scotland with an installed capacity totalling over 5000 Megawatts. The purpose of this guidance is to share that experience amongst the industry, planning authorities and those more broadly involved in the planning and development of wind farms. It is focused on pollution prevention, nature conservation, environment, natural resources, landscape, hydrological, biosecurity and non-native species, archaeological and related issues.
It does not offer guidance on the detailed design or erection of turbines, their components or related infrastructure. It does not address matters of Health and Safety on site specifically. Please refer to the Health and Safety Executive for guidance on these matters. It is aimed at the post consent, pre-construction planning and construction phase of development.
This guidance seeks to identify Good Practice, not necessarily Best Practice, which is evolving constantly. This guidance aims to ‘raise the bar’ and ensure that all wind farm sites are constructed in a sustainable way which respects the surrounding environment and minimises environmental risks. This means going beyond ensuring compliance with environmental legislation whilst balancing this with the practicalities of construction and commercial constraints on developers and contractors.
The guidance will be updated as more experience is gained. In particular, our understanding of issues relating to carbon emissions from wind farm sites is evolving quickly and as a result this guidance will be updated regularly. Box 1 below outlines the current approach to Good Practice when addressing issues of peat management on site and minimising carbon loss.
This guidance is aimed at:
- Wind farm developers
- Construction companies and contractors working on wind farm sites
- Consultants and advisers supporting the wind farm industry
- Planning officers working on wind farm applications
- Statutory consultees such as SNH, SEPA, Marine Scotland Science – Freshwater Laboratory (MSS-FL) and others with an interest in wind farm construction, Environmental and Ecological Clerks of Works