Planning Policy (Mixed Energy Generation Methods)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 27th October 2022.

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Photo of Stephen Kerr Stephen Kerr Conservative

6. I huff and puff to ask the Scottish Government what consideration it has given in its planning policy to the role of mixed energy generation methods. (S6O-01473)

Photo of Tom Arthur Tom Arthur Scottish National Party

Our draft national planning framework 4 set out how planning and development will support our net zero ambitions by 2045. It proposed clear support for all forms of renewable energy and low-carbon fuel technologies, including transmission and distribution infrastructure, and energy storage.

We have been giving careful consideration to the outcomes from the public consultation and the Scottish Parliament’s scrutiny of the draft NPF4, and I will lay a revised version in the Parliament for approval shortly. We have been pleased with the broad support for the general direction of travel proposed in the draft NPF4.

Photo of Stephen Kerr Stephen Kerr Conservative

The most recent United Kingdom Committee on Climate Change report to the UK Parliament makes it clear that nuclear—particularly advanced module nuclear reactors—must be part of our energy mix, as a high priority, to deliver energy security. What is it that the Scottish Government knows that that committee does not which allows it to maintain its stance that nuclear is superfluous to Scotland’s energy future?

Photo of Tom Arthur Tom Arthur Scottish National Party

The muted applause from the Conservative benches suggests that Mr Kerr is in a minority of one with that particular view.

The Scottish Government is clear about its policy: we do not support new nuclear fission power stations. With regard to small modular nuclear reactors, they are very much still at the design and licensing stage, so their economic competitiveness remains unproven.

Photo of Stephanie Callaghan Stephanie Callaghan Scottish National Party

Will the Scottish Government include initiatives to respond to a range of barriers that currently act as a disincentive to planning for further solar deployment? Will the new energy strategy include targets to grow Scotland’s solar generation capacity, which is currently around 3 per cent of the UK total?

Photo of Tom Arthur Tom Arthur Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of energy generated from solar power in contributing to the decarbonisation of Scotland’s energy supply and helping us to meet our targets for a net zero emission society by 2045.

In support of that aim, we will consult on a solar vision for Scotland as part of the draft energy strategy and just transition plan. The vision will consider the key barriers to enabling greater development of solar and will set out the commitments that the Scottish Government will make in order to reduce such barriers and encourage greater deployment of solar in Scotland.

I am pleased to confirm that we are also bringing forward our consideration of permitted development rights for domestic and non-domestic renewable energy equipment, including non-domestic solar panels. We intend to consult on that early in 2023, which I hope will be welcomed by members across the chamber.