A Highland politician has accused Scottish Natural Heritage of failing in its basic duty by giving its blessing to three-quarters of major onshore windfarm developments.
Nationalist MSP Fergus Ewing also accused Scottish ministers of being “powerless” to control the quango.
He hit out after receiving SNH’s response to public concern about proposals for around 130 giant turbines on unspoilt Dava Moor between Nairn and Grantown.
The Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber MSP said: “There is huge frustration with SNH throughout the Highlands, but the real problem is the Scottish Executive which fails to bring them under any control and fails to hold them to account.
“They wave through three-quarters of all windfarm applications despite mounting opposition – opposition to despoliation of our beautiful landscape and damage to tourism. It seems SNH view their role as supporting almost all windfarm applications. That is a very strange interpretation of their duty to conserve a beautiful landscape.”
Mr Ewing said he hopes that a radically different executive after next May’s Scottish Parliament election will have a “more responsible policy”.
SNH’s East Highland operations manager, Steve North, has written to Mr Ewing stating: “As can be seen from the SNH record on renewable developments and underpinned by its policy position, we take a range of views on developments. Since 2001, SNH has responded to applications with a full objection in 25% of cases, leaving 75% of cases either with no objection or conditioned objections.”
By Iain Ramage
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