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Park backs power plan  

Draft national policies on renewable energy are being welcomed by national park planners.

But they admit there will be inevitable constraints on the types of renewable energy the park can accommodate.

While biomass schemes are among several energy sources they feel the area can support, the park is considered to be more sensitive when it comes to elements like windfarms.

In a report due to go before the park’s planning and development control committee on Monday, planners say: “The principle of increasing the amount of electricity generated from renewable energy sources is strongly supported by the national park authority. The implications of climate change on the national park environment could be significant.

“The area has recent experience of an extreme weather event which caused a major landslip in Glen Ogle in 2004. Extreme weather events such as this may become more common as a result of the effects of climate change and the national park is keen to contribute to reducing their causes.

“The renewable energy policies which have been developed for the draft park plan already embrace a number of the approaches proposed.

“It is, however, suggested that it would be useful to consider planning policy for energy conservation alongside energy generation from renewable resources, as reducing energy demand also has an important contribution to make in addressing use of resources and the challenges of climate change.

“It would be helpful if the role of energy conservation was emphasised.”

The planners added: “Although there is much that can be done to increase the generation and use of renewable energy in the national park, there are a number of constraints to large scale renewable electricity generation associated with the park’s protected area status and technical constraints associated with topography and grid connection.

“It is not anticipated that the area would be able to make a substantially increased contribution to the national targets. It is hoped the final policy will acknowledge the limited additional contribution some areas will be able to make to the national targets.”

The planners say that renewable energy issues are already a major consideration for the authority and are a major element of planning policies under development. The authority has already undertaken a number of renewable energy-related projects, including its solar boat and plans for a woodchip boiler to heat its Balloch headquarters.

Officials are also working closely with communities, particularly in Callander which was recently announced as the UK pioneer of a new eco-friendly scheme to encourage small communities to generate their own heat through biomass.


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