ENERGY Minister Fergus Ewing has launched new guidance for wind-farm planning applications, aimed at ensuring there is proper consultation on developments.

The guidance is a result of the GP Wind Project, a Scottish Government project backed by European Union funding, which looked at the barriers involved in the development of wind energy and ways of reconciling renewable energy objectives with environmental concerns.

The guidelines were developed in partnership with a wide range of interested parties, including the RSPB, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, SSE and ScottishPower Renewables.

Mr Ewing also announced an onshore wind taskforce which will look at ways to improve the planning consent process for onshore wind.

It will also aim to keep communities involved by bringing key players in the planning system, including the Scottish Government, developers and the likes of Scottish Natural Heritage, Sepa, and planning authorities together to critically examine current procedures.