Thank you for your emails of 3 November 2020 and 5 January 2021. Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in replying. As your correspondence relates to the disposal of wind turbine blades, I have been asked to reply on behalf of Scottish Ministers.As you will be aware, The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019commits Scotland to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest, in addition to setting two interim targets to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 and by 90% by 2040.Meeting the ambition of our 2045 net-zero target will require decisive and meaningful action over the next 12 months, across all sectors. Onshore wind is the lowest cost form of electricity generation at scale and therefore remains vital to Scotland’s future energy ‘mix’ as we strive to meet these ambitious targets.The Scottish Government believes that our ambitious renewable energy and net-zero goals are very much in the interests of Scotland’s citizens and environment. We also believe that developments can and must strike the right balance between utilising Scotland’s significant renewable energy resources whilst protecting our finest scenic landscapes and natural heritage. Scotland has some of the most stringent environmental impact regulations anywhere in the world, and our support for onshore wind does not come at any cost. When considering applications for wind farm developments requiring Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Scottish Ministers are required to take into account environmental information regarding the likely significant effects of a proposed development.Scottish Ministers, special advisers and the Permanent Secretary are covered by the terms of the Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016. See www.lobbying.scotSt Andrew’s House, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DGwww.gov.scot
Where an EIA is required, it is expected to identify and assess, in light of the circumstances relating tothe proposed development, the direct and indirect significant effects of the proposed development across a number of factors and the interactions between these factors. The factors to be considered include biodiversity, visual and cumulative impacts, impact on human health, among others, where relevant.There are usually conditions attached to a consent (including planning authority decisions and decisions made by Scottish Ministers) which require decommissioning strategies to submitted to the planning authority, in line with Scottish Planning Policy (SPP).The content of these strategies are for the operator to determine and the operating period of an individual wind farm is a matter which developers can consider and discuss prior to the submission of an application. It should be noted that this does not remove the need for decommissioning provisions,where considered appropriate.However, as the operations and maintenance of wind farms is a matter for the operator, the Scottish Government does not hold any information on the provisions that individual developers have put in place for the decommissioning on wind turbines.The Scottish Government are aware of ongoing research and development, being undertaken by various institutions, on this issue and are fully supportive of this work and its alignment with our zero waste policies.At present, we know that up to 85% of wind turbine parts can be recycled and the Scottish Government strongly encourage the reuse, recycling and recovery of resources. Scotland already benefits from initiatives such as ‘Renewable Parts’, a recycling and repair centre which opened in Lochgilphead in 2018, and aims to significantly reduce the level of waste from decommissioning onshore wind farms by refurbishing parts for resale.To date, only one wind farm in Scotland has been decommissioned and subsequently repowered. The original 3 turbine development, called Spurness, in northern Orkney was decommissioned and replaced with 5 newer models in 2012, known as ‘repowering’. The site now provides power to 12,000homes a year, and provides operational jobs to the local community. More information can be found on the SSE website: https://sse.com/whatwedo/ourprojectsandassets/renewables/Spurness/Additionally, the UK Government have published a database, which details the progress of renewable electricity and storage projects from inception through to planning, construction, operation and decommissioning. Please use the following link to access the most recent quarterly update of this database: Renewable Energy Planning Database quarterly extract – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)I hope this information is useful and again, thank you for taking the time to contact the Scottish Goverenment.