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Renewable Energy: Scotland

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) whether he has had recent discussions with Scottish Executive Ministers on the effect of the National Policy Statements for Renewable Energy on marine spatial planning in (a) waters out to 12 nautical miles off the Scottish coast and (b) the renewable energy zone off the Scottish coast; (259200)

(2) what assessment he has made of the likely effect of the National Policy Statement for Renewable Energy on the operation of Marine Scotland;

(3) whether he has had recent discussions with Scottish Executive Ministers on the effect of the National Policy Statement for Renewable Energy on their consenting powers for (a) offshore and (b) onshore renewables under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989.

To date there have been no assessments of the effects of National Policy Statements (NPSs) on Marine Scotland nor have there been discussions with Scottish Executive Ministers on NPSs as they are at early stage of drafting. However, there will be public consultation on my Department's NPSs later in 2009 and my Department will want to engage with the Scottish Executive on them before then.

With the exception of certain oil and gas pipelines that cross into Scotland, the IPC will only have powers to determine applications for nationally significant energy infrastructure projects in England and Wales and the territorial sea adjacent to England and Wales and the Renewable Energy Zone (except those parts where Scottish Ministers have functions), where a relevant NPS is in place. Therefore, the NPSs only directly apply to decisions for new infrastructure in those areas. However, energy policy is generally a reserved matter and the Scottish Executive must have regard to policy statements on energy as a relevant consideration in decisions. NPSs are, for these purposes, a statement of Government policy, so we expect that NPSs will be a relevant consideration for decisions by Scottish Ministers on energy infrastructure in Scotland.