When there is a collision between different government policies with the same purpose the result is sure to be messy, and the chances are that the benefits arising from both policies will be compromised and perhaps lost altogether. The Scottish Government, for example, aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through the enhancement of carbon sinks, such as forestry and peat, while also encouraging the generation of electricity from industrial wind power. Since both projects are land hungry and the United Kingdom’s geographical area is finite or even diminishing, it is highly unlikely that targets for forestry and peatlands, on the one hand, and renewables on the other can be simultaneously approximated, let alone met and maximised.


This problem, long known to specialists, has been brought into sharp focus this week by the coincidental publication of two documents, first a study by the Committee on Climate Change, Land use: Policies for a Net Zero UK, and secondly the Scottish Government’s response to Freedom of Information request relating to deforestation caused by wind farm development.


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