The council is supportive of government policy to secure greater energy generation from renewable sources. The benefits will be weighed against the impact on the local environment and features of interest.
The policy framework for assessing all planning applications, including wind turbines, is laid out in the Local Development Plan 2018. There are also a number of other planning documents specifically relevant to applications for wind turbines. Details of these can be accessed via the links below.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening
Proposals for renewable energy developments may fall for consideration under the Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 2017. For example, wind turbine proposals over 15 metres (hub height) or for more than 2 turbines are required to be screened by the council to determine if an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be required as part of a planning application. Prospective applicants for renewable energy developments are recommended to seek a Screening Opinion prior to making a planning application. More information can be found on the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Council web page.
Community benefits from renewable energy projects are often offered by developers on a voluntary basis. The process of negotiating community benefits from a scheme is not linked to the gaining of planning consent and is not a material consideration in a decision on planning permission. The Scottish Government has produced Good Practice Principles for Community Benefits for Onshore Renewable Energy Developments. This guidance promotes a national rate of £5000 per megawatt per year. The Scottish Government recognises that the work involved in creating a community benefit package is proportionate to the size of the development. However, it is intended that the basic principles within the guidance would apply to all projects over 50KW.
Wind energy guidance and studies
East Lothian Council has prepared Supplementary Planning Guidance and undertaken other studies in relation to wind energy within the area. These can be viewed or downloaded via the links below: