A SCOTTISH Government minister has faced questions on when a wind farm project off the east coast of Scotland will receive consent for construction after it missed its deadline.

SSE said it missed a deadline for a UK Government scheme to supply the National Grid due to Scottish ministers not approving the Berwick Bank wind farm.

The planning application was submitted to the Scottish Government in late 2022 seeking consent to begin construction with a decision deadline for consent set for 12 months. 

That deadline has now passed.

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Richard Lochhead, the Small Business Minister, said the Berwick Bank wind farm is a “majorly significant project for Scotland” and insists the government would continue to work with its developers.

With up to 307 turbines the development would have capacity to generate 4.1GW of electricity, making it “crucial” to meeting offshore wind targets, the developers say.

They also say the project could create around 4500 jobs.

Labour’s Sarah Boyack raised the issue in Holyrood, saying: “What action is the Scottish Government doing to reduce consenting application timescales?

“And will the minister confirm when a consenting decision on Berwick Bank will actually be made?”

Lochhead said the government had consented to all offshore wind applications it had received.

He said: “Of course, the Berwick Bank application is a complex project and any decision by the Scottish ministers must consider the positive contribution to net zero targets alongside the possible impact to the natural environment and other users of the sea.

“(Ms Boyack) is right of course, it is a majorly significant project for Scotland, and we will continue to work with the applicant and those others who have expressed a view going forwards.”

He mentioned other projects that had received consent, including the Green Volt floating wind farm off Peterhead.

The Conservatives’ Douglas Lumsden said Berwick Bank had gone 17 months without a decision, while the LibDemsWillie Rennie said “the minister doesn’t seem bothered” that the target time of 12 months for a decision had been exceeded.

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Lochhead said: “We recognise the national significance of these projects.

“But as I said, there are some projects that are far more complex than other projects.

“We are going as fast as we can in terms of the process – it has to be robust.

“We have to avoid the situation where we have further years being lost in a court case because we didn’t get things right.”