RPS has secured planning permission for two wind farms in Scotland on behalf of client Carbon Free Developments Ltd: the nine-turbine 120m high Earlseat wind farm - at the site of a former opencast coal mine in Fife, and the twenty-turbine, 126.5m high Moy wind farm near Inverness.
A team of RPS professionals had advised the client for both the wind farms since 2010: delivering planning, Environmental Impact Assessment, archaeology & cultural heritage, hydrology, hydrogeology, transport and Socio-Economic Impact Assessment services.
Each development presented its own complexities: The Highland Council failed to reach a decision upon the planning application for the Moy wind farm within the statutory period. RPS subsequently led an appeal against non-determination to the Scottish Ministers - where we successfully demonstrated that draft supplementary planning guidance, which the Council had considered as a basis on which to refuse permission, did not represent a robust or sound basis for decisions. Planning permission was granted on appeal.
Alongside the expected hydrology and hydrogeology matters affecting the proposed wind farm at Earlseat, were issues of proximity to residential development and how close the 20.7 MW wind farm itself would be to the 20 MW categorisation threshold for major development. RPS delivered careful strategic and complex advice on the planning impacts of major wind farm development categorisation and the statutory pre-application consultation requirements for major renewable energy development. Planning permission was granted by Fife Council and represented the only wind farm that the Council consented in the past 18 months.