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Fund of £300,000 to help with rise in wind farm applications

A fund to help planning authorities deal with large numbers of wind farm applications has been opened.

The Scottish government has made £300,000 available for authorities dealing with a significant rise in wind turbine planning applications.

It comes after Aberdeenshire and Fife Councils asked for a temporary halt to new applications, after being deluged by proposals from developers.

Amongst other uses the money can be spent on more staff and faster advice.

Earlier this year Aberdeenshire Council asked for a six-month moratorium on applications for wind farms after the authority received 800 applications in 14 months.

Fife Council called for a temporary halt to applications two months later in June, due to the pressure being put on planners by large numbers of plans being put forward.

Councils need to prove evidence of their need to secure funding.

From the fund, £280,000 will go directly to the authorities, and £20,000 will be used by the government to monitor how the money has been spent, find out the most effective approaches, and provide advice for the future.

Planning Minister Derek Mackay said: “We know that some planning authorities are experiencing particularly high volumes of applications for wind turbines, and the funding will help by bringing in expertise, or more staff, to deal with the process.

“I have made clear that I do not think a moratorium on applications is appropriate but would cause undue delay and uncertainty for everyone involved.

“But I do recognise that some planning authorities are currently facing a high volume and this funding will help them deal with this.”