Tweeddale MP David Mundell is calling for a solution to be found that would ease the cost of windfarm applications on local authorities. It comes after the Scottish Government admitted it had not assessed the cost impact, despite setting some of the highest renewable energy targets in the world. Two councils have already called for a suspension on planning applications for windfarms because of the sheer cost and workload involved in bringing the bids through the system. Mr Mundell believes Scottish Borders Council should consider issuing its own memorandum and make it clear that this region has accommodated more than its fair share of large scale developments. Mr Mundell believes that large companies have been encouraged to flood Council Planning Departments with applications by the SNP’s aggressive, pro-windfarm agenda. The SNP plan to provide 100 per cent of Scotland’s energy through renewable, however Mr Mundell is determined to make sure that that policy does not mean destroying the natural scenery that makes this part of Tweeddale both a beautiful place to live and a tourist hotspot.
The Scottish Conservatives have submitted Freedom of Information requests to all councils asking how much the process has cost them over the past five years. The Scottish Government has set aside £300,000 to help coastal councils bear the cost, though this pledge came in the same letter that was sent to all councils instructing them to set aside areas for preferred development to invite yet more applications. However Mr Mundell argues that encouraging more applications will have a detrimental impact for local residents who will ultimately foot the bill.
Commenting David Mundell MP said: “This region has already got more than its fair share of turbines. It’s bad enough that you can’t move without seeing turbines let alone that local tax payers are seeing council resources swallowed up by processing a barrage of large scale applications. The Scottish Government must respect local democracy and stop putting councils under pressure to find more space for turbines. Council planning departments are already under severe pressure to deal with these applications, and even the councils who do have preferred areas of development are receiving numerous speculative applications for places they have already stated are not suitable.”
Mr Mundell added: “Enough is enough, until a solution is found to help local authorities meet the costs of these applications; I want Scottish Borders Council to consider issuing a memorandum opposing all new applications.”
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