Renewable energy

Trees For Life Policy Statement on the Impact Of Renewable Energy Initiatives

The United Kingdom Government is legally committed to meeting 15% of the UK’s energy demand from renewable sources by 2020. The Scottish Government has set ambitious goals to replace fossil fuel energy with renewable sources and a target has been set for the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s electricity demand to be supplied from renewable sources by 2020.

Trees for Life is broadly supportive of initiatives in Scotland that replace fossil fuels with greener renewable energy. As a general principle, these should be diverse, relatively small in scale, and sited in areas that avoid wild and largely natural landscapes. For example, our Findhorn office obtains its electricity from a small scale, community-owned wind farm situated about 500 metres from the building, in an area that has already been heavily-modified by human activities.

Trees for Life recognises that every new initiative carries complex aesthetic, commercial and environmental considerations. Taking a broad, balanced and informed approach, Trees for Life will view renewable energy initiatives, with the potential to make an impact on the ancient Caledonian Forest, on a case-by-case basis but will advocate:

  •     assessment of the carbon impact of any initiative
  •     open and transparent communication
  •     extensive compensatory tree planting
  •     wide consultation with environmental and community groups
  •     local benefits as the result of any renewable energy initiative
  •     minimal visual impact and environmental effects on sensitive wild landscapes
  •     maximum benefits for biodiversity from any renewable energy initiative

Where proposals for large scale renewable energy installations and their associated infrastructure are deemed to negatively affect sites we are responsible for (e.g. Dundreggan Conservation Estate) we will lodge formal objections to the relevant planning applications.

For renewable energy installations that gain planning consent in the areas where we operate, we will seek involvement, where appropriate, in the environmental mitigation measures associated with the schemes.

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