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Business lobby must not be allowed to judge environmental legislation  

RSPB Scotland welcomes European and Scottish support for Scotland’s protected habitats, in the face of ill-informed business group’s suggestions that they are “over-zealously” protected. In an open letter to Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chamber of Commerce (attached), RSPB Scotland Director Stuart Housden is challenging their assertion that the damaging Barvas Moor Lewis wind farm would be given the go ahead on similar sites abroad.

Development proposals for European wildlife sites must meet a series of tests before they can be consented. The tests are the same across the EU and are applied in strict order. In the letter, several examples of rejected developments from around the continent are highlighted.

Stuart Housden said: “The Lewis Wind Power proposal would rightly be rejected on any protected site in Europe. With the final decision imminent, the Scottish Government must hold its nerve against developers who seek to make profit at the expense of Scotland’s natural crown jewels. Comments from Jim Mather earlier this week seem to be in tune with EU environment law, which is hugely encouraging.”

Speaking earlier this week (see notes), EU Commissioner for the Environment Stavros Dimas highlighted the maintenance of Europe’s protected sites as key to our response against climate change and protecting biodiversity.

“The EU’s Natura 2000 network will be a central element in mitigating and adapting to climate change. The conservation of biodiversity should be treated like our life insurance for the future…And it should go without saying that our climate mitigation policies should not come at the expense of biodiversity. We have very important targets to achieve for renewable energies but we need to be very careful about how and where they are developed.”

Also welcome are comments from Enterprise Minister Jim Mather, who met with The Scottish Chambers of Commerce earlier this week. “If we are to achieve sustainable economic growth in this country we need business leaders to work with us to ensure that major economic developments take place in harmony with our international obligations.”

* You can read the full letter in the document library at http://www.rspb.org.uk/scotland/

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

15 February 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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