Just two weeks after it was announced that one of Europe’s largest wind farms is to be built in the heart of Highland Perthshire, an MSP has lodged a parliamentary motion demanding a halt to any new developments.
Campaigners have already claimed that the sprawling 68-turbine Griffin wind farm near Aberfeldy will “sound the death knell for Perthshire’s worldwide reputation as one of the jewels in the crown of Scotland’s scenery.”
Now Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser has insisted “enough is enough,” warning that huge parts of Angus and Perthshire face being destroyed forever.
He claims Griffin was the last straw and is calling for an immediate ban on the approval of any new wind farm applications.
Mr Fraser states that the current “inconsistent” approach has led to numerous inappropriate developments being granted the green light.
Claiming that a whole new “renewable energy strategy” is required, Mr Fraser last night branded the present system a “mess.”
“It is time the Scottish Government got to grips with Scotland’s national energy policy and sorted out the inconsistent, resource wasting and time consuming planning system for wind farm applications,” he said.
“I have lodged a motion in parliament calling on the government to introduce a renewable energy policy that will define the type of landscape within which large scale wind turbines can be accommodated.
“This would make it clear where a wind farm application is acceptable and where one is not.”
Mr Fraser believes such a move would force developers to think more carefully before applying for planning permission, ensuring that environmentally sensitive areas are left untouched.
“If this system was put in place large parts of Angus and Perthshire would be automatically exempted due to their natural beauty and their importance to the local environment and economy,” he said.
“I am sure that wind farms that have already been granted consent under the current flawed planning system—such as Griffin and Drumderg—would not have been given the go-ahead had some areas been designated ‘out-of-bounds.’
“Unfortunately, Scottish ministers in Edinburgh are overturning local decisions and granting wind farm applications without considering the lasting damage to the local area.
“There are far too many speculative applications in Angus and Perthshire, and indeed across Scotland.
“I welcome the organisations and charities that recognise this and hope that groups such as the John Muir Trust, the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, the Scottish Wild Land Group, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and the Ramblers’ Association Scotland will continue to put pressure on the Scottish Government until we get a new energy strategy that is fit for our country.”
Mr Fraser’s motion calls on parliament to agree to the establishment of a new renewable energy strategy that gives “due regard” to the country’s landscape and acknowledges any threats to scenic areas and fragile, tourism dependent economies.
23 February 2008
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