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07 Apr 2009 05:04:04

Scottish offshore planning decisions integrated

Scottish offshore planning decisions integrated
Planning decisions for offshore renewable energy projects off the coast of Scotland are to be taken by a newly formed organisation.

Marine Scotland commenced operations earlier this month, with a remit to improve and integrate the planning process.

The new marine management body combines the functions of the Fisheries Research Services, the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency and the Marine Directorate.

Cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment Richard Lochhead said the new body would have "direct responsibility for marine science, planning, management and monitoring measures".

He added: "Our consultation showed widespread support for a new, integrated body to provide a stable framework within which business such as marine renewables can take long-term investment decisions, while at the same time ensuring the thousands of species that inhabit our seas are protected."

Figures released by the Scottish Parliament last month suggested the country would achieve its target of meeting 50 percent of its electricity needs from renewables ahead of schedule.

The country aims to get half its power from renewables by 2020, and 31 percent by 2011.

A spokesman for first minister Alex Salmond has said that operating and consented projects will account for 35 percent of electricity needs.



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