Developers seeking support for windfarm plans often dupe members of the public into believing turbines will save the planet – while failing to mention potentially serious side-effects, according to a new report.
The Views of Scotland (VoS) pressure group believes people often put their names forward in support of developments without fully understanding the technology. The group claims that some developments endanger rare species and natural carbon stores in peatland.
The group argues that modern methods of touting for support for wind over nuclear power amount to “a subversion of the planning system in a gung-ho attempt to secure consent whatever the cost”.
The VoS report – Strange bedfellows: Big Energy, Cash and the Green Lobby – claims developers are increasingly recruiting activists including Greenpeace members to back planning applications.
Greenpeace UK chief scientist Doug Parr said: “Wind power is one of the bestavailable tools for humanity starting to tackle climate change.
“We support most windfarm applications that we scrutinise, but this is not blanket. Greenpeace is almost unique in being funded entirely by individual members and so is totally independent of companies and Government.”
VoS chairman David Bruce, however, argued that people “ignorant of serious environmental risks are being persuaded, often unintentionally, to sign letters of support for specific planning applications.”
He said the practice “smacks of new age colonialism by people travelling up and down the country seeking to impose their will by decree, regardless of the environmental cost.”
He added: “There was a time when Greenpeace fought to expose and put a stop to this kind of oppressive corporate bullying. It did not cover it up and it certainly did not campaign on its behalf. It does now.”
Jonathan Lincoln, founder of the Sustainable Energy Alliance, which is also criticised in the report, vehemently denied that he had duped anyone into signing petitions to aid planning applications while shielding wider environmental issues.
He said: “I provide information about a windfarm and discuss it in detail. We provide OS (Ordnance Survey) maps, full details of the application and are as open and honest as we can be, including the impact on the environment and the avian populations, before we decide to back an application.”
1 February 2008
Views of Scotland: viewsofscotland.org
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