Entrepreneurs Sir Tom Hunter and Lord Willie Haughey have called for the speeding up of the consenting process for onshore wind farms in Scotland. Their call comes after First Minister Humza Yousaf committed to expediting consent as part of a deal to maximise the benefits for communities and Scotland’s economy.

“As well as the enormous economic opportunity created by climate action, there is also an overwhelming moral imperative,” he told MSPs in Holyrood.

Sir Tom said: “The First Minister said he was committing to halving the time to get the planning through but, of course, the devil’s in the detail. When I looked at it, the current time taken to get planning for onshore wind is three years. We have a climate emergency. Surely that could be cut to a matter of months, not a matter of years?”

Lord Haughey commented: “Actually, anyone who’s been involved in the process of trying to get planning permission for wind farms in the past 15 years would absolutely bite your hand off for a three-year wait, never mind half of that.

"But I was at a dinner a couple of weeks ago and there was a representative from SSE, who have been great investors in wind farms right from the start, and they were telling me the average wait is eight years!

“When it comes to this transition from oil and gas to renewables, we all want to be on that journey. We want to do it as fast as we can. However, it was also great this week that the Wood Group landed a £262 million contract with Harbour Energy working in the North Sea on oil and gas. 

“This will support hundreds and hundreds of jobs. So it shouldn’t be a case of: ‘Oh no, this has extended the lifetime of the North Sea!’ What we have to do is have a planned transition to renewables.”