Scottish councils are being forced to give up more land to wind turbines – so the Scottish Government can hit its green energy targets.
In a drive to see all Scotland’s electricity powered by renewables by 2020, the SNP has told all local authorities they must produce ‘spatial frameworks’.
That means they have to set aside even more ground for wind farms. Already, up to a third of some council areas has been earmarked for the giant turbines.
A fund of £300,000 has been set up to help make the changes but it is feared they will bring in a flood of applications from developers eager to cash in on millions of pounds in subsidies.
Conservative energy spokesman Mary Scanlon said: ‘This is sending out an open invitation to wind farm companies across the world to submit their applications in Scotland – and that is something that will worry many local communities.
‘Council planning departments are already under severe pressure to deal with these applications.
‘The SNP is fuelling this rise and ordering councils across Scotland to get on-message with them will do nothing to help that situation.’
Scotland’s 32 local authorities already receive more than seven planning applications a day from wind farm developers.
With a limit on planning application fees of £15,950 – compared to £250,000 in England – it is far cheaper to apply for permission north of the Border.
Local government minister Derek Mackay and energy minister Fergus Ewing have written to council umbrella group Cosla to ask for more land to be made available for wind farms.
Campaigners have attacked the move and say £300,000 will not cover the cost of the deluge of applications anticipated.
Susan Crosthwaite, chairman of Communities Against Turbines Scotland, said: ‘We effectively have a martini policy for turbines – anywhere, any time, any place.’
A Government spokesman said: ‘It’s not unreasonable to expect councils to have a plan which gives direction on the appropriate siting of wind farms.’
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