Recent press articles reporting that it is necessary to obtain an electricity generation licence from OFGEM in respect of wind turbines before planning consent can be given are misleading.
The ruling towards the end of last month by a Court of Session judge which gave rise to the reports applies only to large scale developments of 50 MW or more (typically 15-25 turbines) and will not therefore affect the majority of wind developments in Scotland.
Lady Clark of Calton's judgment highlighted an apparent anomaly in the law, with the Electricity Act 1989 apparently allowing any person to apply for consent to construct a development but with subsequent provisions of the Act stating that only licence holders would be bound to adhere to environmental safeguards (suggesting a possible double standard with no safeguards applying for non licence holders). Lady Clark concluded that only a licence holder can apply for consent to construct a development.
It is likely that the ruling will be appealed. In the meantime, it is possible that there may be challenges to consents for other windfarms above the 50MW threshold.