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No wind farm around Ronas

Wild lands.

A FIVE thousand hectare zone around Ronas Hill and North Roe should be the only place in Shetland designated “wild land”, according to Scottish Natural Heritage.

On Tuesday SNH published a map showing 43 areas of wild land across Scotland they believe should be given increased protection from wind farm development under new planning laws.

Wind farms are just one issue being looked at in the Scottish government’s draft planning policy, which is open to consultation until 23 July.

Launching the consultation, planning minister Derek Mackay stressed the importance of building subsea cables connecting the islands with the Scottish mainland as well as protecting wild lands and scenic areas.

Under the government proposals, 31 one per cent of Scotland would be excluded from wind farm development including the existing 19 per cent covered by National Parks and National Scenic Areas, he said.

Speaking in Dundee, Mackay said that the revamped planning system would put more emphasis on jobs and economic benefits to help deliver sustainable economic growth when it was introduced in 2014.

“By providing a clear vision, the proposals will be used to guide future development that will help Scotland achieve its ambitious renewable energy targets and also increase protection for our country’s most environmentally important areas.”

The minister also said that plans to extend Aberdeen harbour were of national importance and would benefit transport links to Orkney and Shetland.