Scotland’s aristocrats are earning millions of pounds from windfarms on their estates, which are often many miles from their homes.
Figures from the Renewable Energy Foundation, a charity that promotes sustainable development for the benefit of the public, show that landowners across the country are earning estimated incomes upwards of £120,000 a year from windfarm developers.
The estimates indicate that one of Scotland’s most controversial windfarms, Fallago Rig in the Lammermuir Hills in the Borders, will earn landowner the Duke of Roxburghe £720,000 a year.
The Fallago Rig development, which is made up of 48 400ft-high turbines, has been at the centre of widespread controversy, with critics including the environmentalist David Bellamy, who joined the protest group Say No To Fallago. The plans have also drawn opposition from the neighbouring Duke of Northumberland.
It was reported yesterday that in the course of the 25-year lifespan of the windfarm, the Duke of Roxburghe could earn something between £18 million and £62.5m.
In answer to his critics, the Duke said: “If we do need to combat the damaging effects of climate change it is right that windfarm development takes place on sites such as Fallago.”
One industry expert was reported as estimating that Fallago Rig could generate about £875m in income over the next quarter of a century for the Duke and his commercial partner North British Windpower.
Half of that sum will be in the form of a subsidy, introduced by the last Labour Government to encourage renewable-energy projects, and which is added on to household electricity bills.
Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, has said: “Many of these landowners must know, deep down, that the subsidies are a national scandal, but easy money on this scale would tempt a saint.”
The Renewable Energy Foundation’s figures also suggest that other landowners will also make large amounts from windfarms.
According to the estimates, Sir Alastair Gordon-Cumming will earn £435,000 from the 29 turbines on the Altyre estate near Forres in Moray.
The Earl of Seafield also has eight turbines on his estate near Banff in the north-east which are estimate to be able to earn him £120,000 annually.
Yesterday’s figures also indicate that the Earl of Moray receives £540,000 a year from 36 turbines at Braes O’Doune near Stirling.
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