Industry figures have called for the Scottish government to ensure planning bodies are sufficiently resourced and set timelines for decision-making.

RWE head of consents Eleri Davies told a session of the Scottish Renewables Onshore Wind conference that she thought there was a case for legislating fixed timescales for each stage of the planning process.

Pinsent and Masons head of energy and infrastructure Jennifer Ballantyne shared statistics showing that Section 36 applications take an average of 30 months to determine if they don’t go to a public local inquiry, or 44 months if an inquiry is needed.

She also shared figures showing that inquiry reports sit on ministers’ desks for an average of nine months before being determined.

She added that excessive weight had been given to landscape in the planning system for renewables.

“We need to think about where is the wind resource, where is the existing infrastructure to create clusters and share infrastructure, co-locate with storage and solar and come at it from what’s going to work for green energy to drive our economy, rather than come at it with a subjective view on landscape,” she said.

But EDF Renewables development and consents manager Daren Cuming said that while blanket landscape bans were not the right approach, the industry does need to be sensitive in what it proposes. He added: “200 metre turbines in all of Scotland are not appropriate.”

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