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MSPs call for more planning policy guidance

MORE guidance is needed on controversial issues such as fracking and the siting of onshore wind farms, a Holyrood committee has said.

MSPs on the Scottish Parliament's Energy Committee said key planning documents needed to show much greater clarity on the required buffer zones between inshore wind farms and local communities.

They also called for planning authorities to be given fuller guidance for when they are considering onshore oil and gas developments, so they take into account the "environmental and social impacts on communities".

The committee is one of four at Holyrood that have been scrutinising the draft third national planning framework and the Scottish planning policy - key documents which underpin planning policy in Scotland.

The MSPs said that given the "controversy and lack of understanding" over projects such as fracking, ministers should consider how the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and local planning authorities can "work together to ensure that communities are adequately consulted on any applications for unconventional gas extraction and hydraulic fracturing".

They also stressed that the final planning policy should include guidance on "agreeing sufficient restoration processes" after projects.

The MSPs noted that the Scottish Government had suggested increasing the distance between wind farms and local communities from 2km to 2.5km. But the committee said there are "different interpretations of the term 'community' and uncertainty over how the term 'wind farm' will be interpreted". They called for planning policy documents to set out greater clarity on these issues.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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