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Caithness News Bulletins October 2005

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Public Asked To Have Their Say On Highland Renewable Energy Strategy
The Highland Council is holding six public meetings to set out its stance on the future development of renewable energy resources across the Highlands and to invite views from the public.

The first meeting is being held at Lochaber House, Fort William on Tuesday 8 November and the last at the Averon Centre, Alness on Thursday 1 December. In between, meetings will be held at the Town House, Inverness on Tuesday 15 November; the Ross Institute, Halkirk on Tuesday 22 November; Portree Community Hall on Wednesday 23 November; and the Pittentrail Recreational Hall, Rogart, on Tuesday 29 November.

All meetings will start at 7 pm.

The Council has commissioned a number of reports to examine the potential for exploiting different forms of renewable energy (both on-shore and off-shore) in the context of various technical constraints and planning safeguards.

In particular, a draft Strategy and Planning Guidelines has been drawn up to help stimulate discussion of the issues. The Council has set a deadline of 5 pm on Friday 13 January, 2006 for representations, which should be sent in writing to John D Rennilson, Director of Planning & Development, The Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX.

It is intended that a final draft of the strategy, taking on board representations made during the consultation period, will be presented to a special meeting of the full Council in March, when a range of interests, who have responded during the consultation period, will have a chance to air their views directly to councillors.

Councillor Sandy Park, Chairman of the Council's Planning, Development, Europe and Tourism Committee, said: "In the absence of clear guidance from the Scottish Executive, we have taken a lead in Scotland in framing a comprehensive renewable energy policy for the Highlands. I have no doubt that the work we are undertaking will provide a model for other areas to follow. The strategy will inform future decisions, influence policy makers and promote a positive Highland vision, while maximising the gain and minimising the impact of developments."

Copies of the Highland Renewable Energy Strategy and Planning Guidelines together with supporting Resource Assessment (RERA) and draft Environmental Assessment (SEA) have been deposited at all Council Area Offices; All Area Planning & Building Standards offices; all Public Libraries; and all Highland Council Service Points.

The deposited documents are available for inspection free of charge during normal office hours from Friday, 28 October 2005 or on The Highland Council web-site at http://www.highland.gov.uk/plintra/planpol/ren/ren_wg.htm