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Europe's biggest windfarm scoops top award at Scottish Planning Awards

11 March 2010

Some of the best examples of planning and design across Scotland were celebrated today at a prestigious awards ceremony at the Hub in Edinburgh. John Swinney MSP presented the top prize at the annual Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning to representatives of Scottish Power for their groundbreaking Whitelee Wind Farm – Europe's largest onshore wind farm which can provide carbon free power from its 140 turbines to 180,000 homes.

The judges were particularly impressed by the scale of the project and the efficient way it progressed through the planning process, with Scottish Power having engaged with the local community to address and overcome potential constraints, leading to a low level of objections, and providing both education and recreation facilities that open up the moor in a safe way to a wide range of users.

Projects in Renfrew, Dundee, Stirling, Glasgow, Falkirk and Aberdeen were also recognised, receiving awards and commendations in categories such as Development Plans, Development Management, Development on the Ground and Community Involvement. Full details of the award winners and shortlisted entries will be available shortly at www.scotland.gov.uk/planning.

John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth said:

\"These awards celebrate the positive contributions that individuals and organisations in both the public and private sector make to enabling high quality development in Scotland. \"An efficient planning service is key to delivering strong and sustainable economic growth in Scotland, and particularly to the development of a low carbon economy – something our future success as a nation depends on.

\"I congratulate all winners on their achievements, particularly those behind the overall winner, Whitelee Windfarm. These awards demonstrate the important part planning processes play in supporting Scottish industry, particularly those with strong green energy credentials that have a role in cutting emissions and supporting vital Scottish jobs.\"

Ian Angus, Convener of RTPI in Scotland said:

\"The Whitelee Windfarm is the deserved winner of this year's top planning award because of the exemplary way that the planners and the project sponsors have engaged with the local community, resulting in a groundbreaking sustainable energy development that is attracting visitors from far and wide.

In these difficult economic times, these awards demonstrate that Scotland's planners have risen to the challenge by delivering high quality planning solutions coupled with creative flair. The RTPI is delighted to recognise good planning practice, as effective planning is key to addressing climate change and readying Scotland's economy for a stronger, faster recovery."

For more information:

Carrie Thomson, Directorate for the Built Environment, Scottish Government
T: 0131 244 7529
E: Carrie.Thomson@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Paul Ferguson, Media Relations Manager, Scottish Power
(images of Whitelee Windfarm available upon request)
T: 07702 665924
E: paul.ferguson@scottishpower.com

Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning 2009
The Scottish Government runs the annual Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning. First launched in 1998 they are now in their 13th year. The awards aim to stimulate the creativity of those engaged in planning, in the process and in the quality of development produced, and to raise the profile of good planning practice. There are four categories of award: Development Plans, Development Management, Development on the Ground and Community Involvement. Anyone can enter, including local authorities, consultants, developers, voluntary organisations and community groups.

The judges for the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning were Joan Burnie, Associate Editor of the Daily Record; Richard Holland, Scottish Young Planners Network Steering Group and Ben Train, Town Planning Manager (Scotland & NI), Tesco Stores Ltd.

The judges' report can be found at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/Recent and the full list of shortlisted entries is at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/planning/National-Planning-Policy/awards/SAQP2009/Q/editmode/on/forceupdate/on

Photographs of winners and commendations will be available from Dougie Barnett on 0131 664 0231 or dougiebarnett@blueyonder.co.uk