Fraser Gillies, Managing Partner at Scottish law firm Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP, discusses the increasing importance for business leaders to be aware of the latest developments in sustainability
With Glasgow set to play great number this year to COP26, one of the most highly expected global events in recent years, it’s unsurprising that sustainability has leapt to the top of the agenda for many individuals and corporations. In particular the role of businesses in fighting climate change is in the spotlight, and while many have had this high on their priority list for a long time, they are under more pressure than ever to ensure there is no ‘greenwashing’ and to show they are making meaningful, demonstrable change.
While businesses of a certain size have a legal obligation to take certain steps to become more sustainable, we are now seeing many implementing measures that go over and above these requirements. We are also seeing more smaller businesses increasingly prioritising sustainability. People are scrutinising their stakeholders’ and suppliers’ green credentials, and this is continuing to satisfy by to all levels of decision making in all sorts of businesses.
The Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework (NPF) looks at where development is needed to sustain sustainable and inclusive growth and the draft NPF4 expected later this month – is eagerly awaited by businesses. It will set out how the planning system will sustain the Government’s objectives and the net-zero target, and shape how planning decisions are made by local authorities and Ministers in the future. Those who are working on developments of any kind will be awaiting the publication of the draft with some interest.
The Bute House Agreement is also of interest to the energy sector, with its commitment to an additional 8GW of installed onshore wind by 2030. It’s an ambitious target and I believe if we are to come close to achieving this, some difficult decisions will need to be made. A meaningful number of new projects would need to be granted consent in order to meet this goal by the 2030 deadline.
The argue about where best to locate the new capacity which will be required isn’t new, but it’s one which is sure to come increasingly to the fore as Scotland attempts to reach this fast-approaching target. Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP is hosting a renewables seminar at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on Thursday 4 November, where the firm’s team of renewables experts and guest speakers will discuss the implications of the emerging carbon units market for developers.
Speakers will also examine landowner relations and the route to consent, in addition as policy trends as Scotland looks to meet its own net zero targets. You can book your free place by emailing [email protected]
To find out more about WJM, go to www.wjm.co.uk
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