Collaborative working on energy projects earns award nominations
Collaborative working with partner organisations to achieve maximum benefit for local communities and boost the economy, has been a longstanding ethos at East Ayrshire Council, as its teams strive to reach Net Zero targets.
And for the Development Planning team, this ambition has paid dividends, leading to two prestigious nominations for the Council and its partner organisations for their innovative new approach to a pilot project at Hagshaw Energy Cluster, which straddles the borders of South Lanarkshire and East Ayrshire.
Appearing on two shortlists, the Hagshaw Development Framework has been referred to as an example of good practice in the Scottish Government’s Onshore Wind Policy Statement (2022) and in the recently published Onshore Wind Sector Deal (2023). As a result, a working group has been set up to look at how this approach can be rolled out to other projects throughout the country.
The first nomination is for the prestigious Excellence in Climate, Environment, and Social Outcomes category at the Landscape Institute Award which will be announced in London on Friday 3 November.
The second nomination is for the Sustainable Development category of the Scottish Green Energy Award to be awarded on 30 November in Edinburgh.
Praising the team and their colleagues from across the organisations involved, Councillor Graham Barton, Cabinet Member for Planning, Property and Environment said: “We’ve always recognised that meeting our Net Zero goals, locally, nationally and internationally is not something that any individuals or organisation can do in isolation, it’s imperative we all work together, striving to cut emissions and improve efficiency through sharing of sklls, ideas, strategies and best practice.
“At Hagshaw, with land spanning two council areas, and windfarm projects being run by a number of companies, it made complete sense to collaborate to develop better outcomes for the projects, the people in the surrounding communities, nature and the environment.
"LUC (Land Use Consultants) developed the framework between 2020 and 2022 in collaboration with NatureScot, Architecture and Design Scotland, a group of wind farm developers and operators, East Ayrshire Council and South Lanarkshire Council. In the process they consulted closely with landowners, communities, local businesses and other stakeholders and interested parties.
“Now that the framework has been established, the Hagshaw Energy Cluster Developer Group, Landowner Forum and community-led Douglas Valley Advisory Group will focus on the delivery of Development Framework opportunities.
“From our point of view, the Framework sets a clear precedent, advocating quality through design and maximising benefits for people, place and nature. It provides a basis for East Ayrshire Council and South Lanarkshire Council to work with developers, landowners, communities and other stakeholders to promote and adopt a coordinated approach to future renewable energy development across the Cluster.
“We’re proud of the work put in across the board to pull this Framework together, and whatever the outcome at these awards, I commend all those involved for their sterling efforts which will help smooth the path to planning for a cleaner, greener, more prosperous future.”