The Scottish Government’s conclusions on changes to be implemented can be summarised as follows:
Fees shall be revised in a manner which takes account of the comments received through the consultation. A balance must be struck between the policy objectives of the Energy Strategy and the aims of public finance management given by the Scottish Public Finance Manual.
Upfront costs for pre-application and scoping stages shall not be implemented at this time.
The fees to be implemented will be lower than those which were consulted on for applications to construct or extend a generating station, and we have revised the categories and thresholds. Our fees will be closely aligned with the equivalent fees paid under local planning, for example, a 51MW wind farm will require a fee no greater than a 50MW wind farm would under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.
Greater remuneration to planning authorities in relation to onshore applications than proposed in the consultation. A voluntary contribution shall continue to be made to Planning Authorities, now to be equivalent to one half of the fee received for applications for:
1. onshore electricity generation development under section 36 and 36C of the Act for which the revised fee is paid, and
2. EIA development applications under section 37 of the Act for which the revised fee is paid.
Service improvements continuing – proactive project management, progress towards greater certainty around determination timescales and support discussion with a range of stakeholders.
Revisions to the bands, thresholds and fee categories while maintaining a fixed fee structure based on installed capacity for section 36 applications and based on length of overhead lines for section 37 applications.
The revised fees will be implemented by amendment of the Electricity (Applications for Consent) Regulations 1990. This would be subject to a negative procedure in the Scottish Parliament. Ministers aim to implement the revised fees from May 2019.
Monitoring - following the implementation of the revised fee levels the Scottish Government shall monitor the effects of the changes.