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Windfarms banned from Scotland’s national parks

Wind farms are seen as a blight on some of Scotland's most picturesque locations, including the Cairngorms National Park and the Southern Highlands. Picture: PA

Wind farms are seen as a blight on some of Scotland's most picturesque locations, including the Cairngorms National Park and the Southern Highlands. Picture: PA

WINDFARMS are to be banned in Scotland’s national parks and national scenic areas, under new planning guidelines announced by the Scottish Government.

The move, part of the National Planning Framework, will offer protection to nearly a third of Scotland’s land area, including new wild land areas identified by Scottish Natural Heritage.

The proposal also introduces five new measures in relation to the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing - known as fracking - including a requirement for buffer zones and community consultations.

Planning minister Derek MacKay insisted that the Scottish Government “remains strongly committed” to wind energy, but said they “want the right developments in the right places”.

“We have taken steps to ensure that no wind farm developments can go ahead in our cherished National Parks and National Scenic Areas, and we have strengthened the protection of wild land, with new maps and inclusion directly in the SPP and NPF3,” he said.

“Any application for coalbed methane or shale gas projects must comply with the appropriate regulatory regimes, including SEPA’s guidance on the regulation of shale gas and coalbed methane.

Ian Jardine, chief executive of Scottish Natural Heritage, which today released its Wild Land Areas Map 2014, said: “This new map helps to do this by identifying which are the key areas of wild land. We warmly welcome the Government’s recognition of these areas in the new National Planning Framework and the Scottish Planning Policy.

“The planning documents launched today do much more than recognise the importance of the wild land resource. They also recognise the extensive role of nature and landscape in the wider sense, and people’s enjoyment of it, in achieving sustainable economic growth.”

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