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Our approach

We strongly support renewable energy as a substitute for fossil fuels. Our role is to enable good developments in suitable locations.

Scottish Natural Heritage aims to strike a balance between the benefits of renewable energy and its effects on Scotland’s nature and landscapes. We also support greater energy efficiency and reduced energy demand.

Our vision is for a strategic approach that guides development towards the locations and technologies best suited to Scotland’s landscapes and habitats. We promote a plan-led approach to renewable energy development.

Our approach

Our position statement on renewable energy and the natural heritage outlines our general approach and informs our advice on individual proposals.

Read Renewable energy and the natural heritage: Position statement

In our position statement, we recognise the huge importance of renewable energy in mitigating the effects of climate change.


The Board of Scottish Natural Heritage endorses our approach to renewable energy. It must approve any major changes in our approach and will sometimes discuss very significant cases.

Our Scientific Advisory Committee advises us on how we carry out renewable energy research and on the scientific evidence base for our guidance in this area.

Managing applications

Early engagement

We aim to help deliver a faster planning process by focusing on the pre-application stage of development management. We also strive to make our data, information and guidance more easily available to a wider audience.

Early engagement helps to identify the likelihood of any significant impacts on nature and landscapes. Developers can then adjust plans accordingly early on. We encourage developers to engage with the relevant local Scottish Natural Heritage area office at the outset of the development management process.

Service level statement

Planning for Development: Our Service Statement outlines the minimum level of service that developers and planning authorities should expect from us.

We will engage in greater depth where a proposal could have a significant impact on the quality and enjoyment of Scotland’s natural heritage.

Communities and other stakeholders

We liaise with local communities and interest groups that have concerns about a renewable energy proposal relating to nature and landscapes.

Our role is to advise the Scottish Government on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. As such, we provide advice on renewable energy developments to the relevant consenting authority (either the planning authority or Scottish Government).

It is the consenting authority that makes the ultimate decision on a proposal, however.


Get in touch if you’d like to discuss our general approach to renewable energy.

Brendan Turvey
Telephone: 01738 458 622
Email: [email protected]

Kenny Taylor
Telephone: 01786 435 387
Email: [email protected]

To discuss a specific development proposal, contact the relevant local Scottish Natural Heritage area office.

You should email all enquiries about marine renewables (including offshore wind) to [email protected]

Find out more

Balancing duties: summary document