A blueprint for renewable energy in the north
HIGHLAND COUNCIL has published a 10-point action plan which it is developing with key partners, to help plan for the growth of the marine renewable energy industry in North Highland.
This follows on from Onshore Visioning workshops held at the Castle of Mey in August 2010 and February 2011 to which a wide range of people and organisations were invited.
This work is mainly focussed on the onshore development that will be necessary in North Highland to enable and support wave, tidal and offshore wind power. These sectors have been identified as priorities for the Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, of which the Highland Council is a key member. The Action Plan’s priorities include making sure that there is a range of business and industrial sites available to meet likely needs, putting in place masterplans or design guidance for key areas of change and pursuing ways of assisting delivery of development.
The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment (PFBE) was commissioned by the Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Government to hold the workshops and to prepare a report. The PFBE’s report provides a record of the issues and key locations discussed at the workshops and its recommendations have provided a starting point for preparing the Action Plan.
The purpose of the Action Plan is to ensure that there is a co-ordinated planning approach to the delivery of on-shore development for the marine renewables industry. It provides focus on key actions and gives information on timescales, lead agency and partners involved.
Councillor Ian Ross, Chairman of the Council’s Planning, Environment and Development Committee said: “We would like to thank everyone who took part in the two workshops at the Castle of Mey. The council is committed to sustainable economic growth and the on-shore aspects of the marine energy resource in North Highland offer the potential of investment from this industry. The North Highland Vision work complements the work being undertaken by the Council and other key partners working within the Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership. This emphasises the council’s shared ambition with other partners to realise the maximum development opportunity in Caithness and North Sutherland.”
Hank Dittmar, Chief Executive of the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, said: “The Prince’s Foundation is concerned with improving the quality of people’s lives whilst looking after the environment. We were delighted therefore to have brought together local representatives with marine energy developers and other interested parties to consider the growth of this new industry in the north of Scotland. The Scottish Government, Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, in sponsoring these workshops, have recognised at an early stage the importance of broad-based engagement in readiness for the anticipated upsurge in marine energy related development. We will continue to contribute to the coordinated effort for onshore planning through the North Highland Initiative, helping local communities to benefit sustainably from a flourishing marine energy industry, whilst working to ensure that the special qualities of the region are protected and enhanced.The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment report and the Action Plan can be found on the Council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk