The proposed National Planning Framework (NPF3) sets out a sustainable vision of growth and development and includes two new national developments.
Following public consultation, one of the proposed new energy-related infrastructure developments is the Pumped Hydroelectric Storage – including at Cruachan Argyll – for a ‘nationally important hydroelectricity facility with significant potential for enhanced pumped storage capacity.’
When finalised, NPF3 will provide the context for development plans throughout the country. It will now be considered for 60 days by Holyrood MPs in the Scots parliament.
Mackay said: “The proposed framework will benefit every part of Scotland and sets out our vision for where sustainable economic growth should take place over the next 20 to 30 years.
“I want future planning decisions to give due weight to the economic benefit of proposed developments, particularly the creation of new jobs.”
Other energy-related projects included among the proposed 14 national developments comprise:
- Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Network and Thermal Generation
- High Voltage Energy Transmission Network
- Grangemouth Investment Zone, and
- Aberdeen Harbour.
Holyrood’s Energy and Enterprise Committee of MPs will now consider the planning implications for future onshore wind farm developments and the impact on opportunities to utilise onshore reserves of ‘unconventional’ gas, such as shale gas and coal bed methane.
Murdo Fraser, MSP, Convenor of the Energy and Enterprise Committee in the Scottish Parliament, commented: “A key aim of the National Planning Framework is to allow planning authorities to support the energy sector to make the transition to a low carbon economy.
“Our Committee will be examining in detail new restrictions on onshore wind farm development in wild land areas of Scotland and also the impact of planning priorities on emerging opportunities of unconventional gas, such as shale gas.”