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Energy Consents - Guidance


Section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989 – Overhead line applications without an EIA Report

Guidance on the process of applying for consent under section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989 for overhead line developments which do not require an Environmental Impact Assessment is available from www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/Energy/Infrastructure/Energy-Consents/Guidance/S37NonEIAG.


Good Practice Principles For Community Benefits from Onshore Renewable Energy Developments

Community benefits from renewable energy offer a unique and unprecedented opportunity to communities across Scotland. Many developers have individual company policies and approaches which work well to deliver voluntary community benefits, and the Scottish Government has developed national guidance to share and build upon the progress in the field to date to encourage good practice for forthcoming operational projects.

The Good Practice Principles for Community Benefits from Onshore Renewable Energy Developments should be considered by all applicants seeking consent for proposals under Section 36 of the Electricity Act.

The Good Practice Principles are on line at: www.localenergyscotland.org/goodpractice


Variation of Section 36 consent

Certain electricity generating stations cannot be constructed, extended or operated without a section 36 consent.  Section 36 does not provide for section 36 consents to be varied.  However, it is not unusual for circumstances to arise in which the ability to vary a section 36 consent would be very useful.  The Growth and Infrastructure Act inserted a new section 36C into the Electricity Act 1989 which introduces a procedure for applications to vary section 36 consents and for planning permission to be deemed in connection with such applications.

New Regulations came into force on 1 December 2013 and provide for variation applications to take place in a way that follows closely the existing rules for applications for section 36 consents, and which ensures that the relevant provisions of the EIA Directive are also implemented for section 36 variation applications as they currently are for a section 36 consent.

The Regulations can be found at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2013/304/contents/made

The Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 apply in relation to variation applications from 16th May 2017. The Regulations were subsequently amended in December 2017 to make it clear that a variation application relates to EIA development if the proposed variation is likely to have significant effects on the environment.

The Energy Consents Unit is currently preparing new guidance on variation applications.

Any questions on the section 36 variation process should be addressed to:-


Scottish Government Energy Consents Unit, 4th Floor, Atlantic Quay, 150 Broomielaw, Glasgow, G2 8LU.


Necessary Wayleaves Guidance

Necessary Wayleaves guidance for applicants, landowners and occupiers

Necessary Wayleaves guidance - application form



On 5 April 2013 the current fee structure for applications under The Electricity Act came into force.  You can find full details of the fees here.

We are currently reviewing our fee structure and have recently carried out a consultation, which closed on 28th May 2018. The consultation paper and published responses can be viewed here. The responses are being analysed and a decision will be taken and published on this page in the coming months.



The first step for developers planning to submit an application is to contact the consents unit to arrange a pre-scoping meeting.

SNH pre-application and scoping advice



  • An application pack containing links to relevant legislation, public notice templates, fees guidance and a link to the energy consents portal is available.
  • Developers are now required to calculate potential carbon losses and savings from wind farms on Scottish peatlands. In 2008, the Scottish Government published research which included an Excel Spreadsheet carbon calculator tool, which developers were encouraged to use. In June 2011, the Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism announced the culmination of further research and the publication of version two of the calculator. He explained that developers are now required to use the tool, which will be validated by SEPA. Full details are available at www.scotland.gov.uk/WindFarmsAndCarbon - including a technical note, the latest version of the calculator, guidance, a report on the update to version two of the calculator, and the research report (Calculating Carbon Savings from Wind Farms on Scottish Peatlands - A New Approach. Nayak et al., 2008; Nayak et al., 2010 and Smith et al., 2011).
  • It is vital that new projects promote community engagement in the planning process and ensure that barriers to this engagement are minimised. It is therefore good practice that developers when applying for Electricity Act consent in areas where Gaelic is predominantly spoken, place all public notices regarding the development in both the English and Gaelic languages. It is for the developer to ensure that the public notices for their development are translated correctly.



National planning policy on renewable energy is currently set out in the Scottish Planning Policy ( SPP). It encourages Planning Authorities to include renewable energy policies in their development plans and to identify broad areas of search for wind farms. It also identifies the issues which Planning Authorities must consider when deciding planning applications. The policy also applies to our processing of section 36 applications (and will also apply to section 37 where applicable).

The sections of the SPP which concern Landscape and Natural Heritage, Green Belts, and the Historic Environment are also relevant.

Planning advice notes can be found at



Community Benefit

Following public consultation, the Scottish Government has set up a Public Register of community benefits related to renewables projects in order to encourage full transparency on this matter.  The Register is currently being managed on behalf of the Scottish Government by Community Energy Scotland (CES) as part of the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES).

Ministers would expect to see developers enter details of all wind farms granted consent in the Register as a matter of good practice.



Economic Research Findings: The Economic Impacts of Wind Farms on Scottish Tourism. Report commissioned by Glasgow Caledonian University to assess whether Government priorities for wind farms in Scotland are likely to have an economic impact on Scottish tourism.





  • Marine Scotland is the central point of contact for matters relating to offshore wind, wave and tidal licensing and consenting.