Wind turbines can be positive for wildlife and aesthetically pleasing, according to the body responsible for Scotland’s nature and landscape.
Andrew Thin, chair of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), told Holyrood’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee that turbines can have both “positive and negative” impacts on the environment.
He said: “We have evidence that wind farms can be positive for certain species and, from some people’s point of view, a well-designed wind farm can be positive in the landscape in aesthetic terms.”
However, he added: “There are some real challenges in this because if we get this wrong, if we consent badly-designed wind farms, public concern will rise faster.”
SNP MSP Mike McKenzie said there is little land “that has not been subject to effect of mankind over the last 10,000 years or so”.
He asked: “If we are going to stop the evolutionary clock, what date are we stopping it at?”
The committee is preparing for a visit from US tycoon Donald Trump, who is on a self-declared mission “to save Scotland” from wind turbines which he regards as “ugly monstrosities” and “horrendous machines”.
He is fighting proposals for an offshore wind farm he argues will spoil his golf development on the coast of Aberdeenshire.
Mr Trump recently described oil as “the lifeblood of the world”, but SNP MSP Stuart McMillan queried why few people question the aesthetic qualities of oil rigs.
He said on a clear day in Aberdeen “you can actually see the oil rigs in the distance”, but “it’s not something that I’ve actually heard people complaining about”.
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