A formal complaint has been made over the conduct of a Berwickshire councillor.
The complaint has been made about Councillor John Elliot, an outspoken supporter of windfarms.
The councillor has provoked anger for speaking in favour of controversial windfarm applications in Berwickshire.
Yet he failed to disclose at council meetings that he has shares in a company which makes parts for turbines.
Now Scottish Borders Council are to investigate the complaint against Mr Elliot that he failed to declare his interests before speaking.
“I think it is a very serious issue – it’s not a trivial complaint,” said Fallago Ridge windfarm protestor Richard Havers who has filed the complaint.
“He has a pecuniary interest and he has been a vociferous supporter of windfarms from day one. I cannot see any reason why he is not declaring an interest especially when he was accusing community councillors of not declaring their interests.”
Councillor Elliot’s shares in the Spectris Group are mentioned in a list of his written interests lodged with SBC.
However each council agenda states: “Members are reminded that if they have a pecuniary or non-pecuniary interest in any item of business coming before the meeting that interest should be declared prior to commencement of discussion on that item.”
Mr Havers said he was “shocked” that Councillor Elliot had failed to do so.
“He has supported windfarms all along and very often against the views of the community so I think he is in breach of his duties as a councillor.”
“He may well have followed the letter of the law but that does not make it morally right especially when he has been questioning the independence of community councillors,” said Mr Havers.
Councillor Elliot sparked outrage four weeks ago when he raised questions about community councillors in a letter to the Berwickshire News.
He said he was “concerned about the independence” of the Cranshaws, Ellemford and Longformacus Community Council after the community council objected to the proposed 48 turbine windfarm at Fallago Ridge in the Lammermuirs.
He asked which of the councillors was involved with the anti-windfarm Lammermuir Protection Group and added: “Scottish Borders councillors declare their interests but community councillors often fail to do so.”
Said Mr Havers: “The problem with him is that he is the first to quote rules and regulations and is quick to have a go at others but he never looks at himself.
“He does not get the idea of living in a democracy. His whole approach to everything is ‘do as I say’ and he does not want to listen to people. It is all about what he wants.
“I don’t think he should be allowed to get away with this.”
Mr Havers added: “He is perfectly entitled to have shares in a company that makes parts for wind turbines but he should declare that he has an interest.”
A spokeswoman for Scottish Borders Council confirmed a complaint had been received and said it was now in the hands of the chief executive.
Councillor Elliot said: “The company is listed in my Declaration of Interests which the council makes available to the public.
“I have not withheld information and I have a clear conscience.
“The company has no direct involvement in the promotion of windfarms generally far less in any specific project for which consent is being or has been sought.
“I am advised that I need not have made any verbal declaration. The complainant is free to contact the Standards Commission if he is not satisfied.”
1 March 2007
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