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Scotland set to reform planning rules for solar energy 

Solar Energy Scotland
18 October 2022 

The Scottish Government has accepted recommendations from the solar industry that will incentivise rooftop installations across the nation. 

In a letter published last week, Planning Minister Tom Arthur and Chief Planner Fiona Simpson said that there are “very significant pressures” on Scotland, resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, inducing “severe economic upheaval”. Meanwhile, the climate crisis continues to loom large. 

Therefore, the Scottish Government has pledged to consult on lifting the need to obtain planning permission for larger solar installations on non-domestic buildings early next year. Solar Energy Scotland had pressed for the move, including at a recent meeting with a Scottish Government official. It would bring Scotland into line with planning rules in England. 

“We are very happy to hear that the Scottish Government has listened to what the industry and businesses are saying and will consult on removing this unnecessary red tape. It is a recognition that the current planning regime contradicts the pressing need to address the energy price crisis and net zero,” said Solar Energy Scotland Policy Analyst Emily Rice. 

“This is an important step forward for our industry. I am glad the Scottish Government has recognised that this is an important issue for businesses trying to reduce energy bills and meet net zero targets. It is vital that the planning system reflects the urgency of the energy price crisis and climate emergency, and we will continue to work for a speedy removal of this unnecessary barrier.  

We must work at pace to grow the solar industry in Scotland. I hope the new National Planning Framework 4, expected later this Autumn, also reflects this urgency, and gives substantially elevated weight to solar and other renewables in the planning process. There’s no time to waste in addressing the climate crisis,” said Solar Energy Scotland Chair, Thomas McMillan. 

[1] Chief Planner Letter: stakeholder update – October 2022 

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Editors’ notes: 
For further information or to request an interview, please contact: 
Name: Gareth Simkins | Email: [email protected]