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Offshore turbines will raise carbon output – MEP

A Scottish MEP has condemned government plans for offshore wind energy as “ill-conceived and financially unsustainable”.

Tory Struan Stevenson claimed ministers risked destroying local economies while making a negligible impact on carbon emissions.

He made the attack at a meeting organised by Communities Against Turbines Scotland (CATS) in Girvan, Ayrshire, yesterday.

He told the audience: “If the SNP government gets its way, offshore turbines will be inescapable.

“The government has already identified 15 areas where vast offshore arrays could be constructed, threatening virtually to enclose and surround the entire country with massive wind projects from Berwickshire up the east coast to Shetland and back down the west coast to the Solway.”

He said Scottish and Southern Energy’s plans for a windfarm in the Firth of Clyde would ruin the “world-renowned seascape” and devastate communities where generations have relied on fishing and tourism.

Mr Struan said an estimated 55% of carbon in the atmosphere that becomes bound up in natural systems is cycled into the seas and stored in seagrass meadows and kelp forests, most of which were found around Scotland’s coasts.

“Destroying these precious ecosystems to build massive offshore turbines or wave and tidal systems will simply release millions of tonnes of stored CO2 into the atmosphere,” he said. “The Scottish Government has already demonstrated their ignorance in this respect through their cavalier attitude to building onshore windfarms on peatland, another of nature’s natural carbon capture and storage mechanisms. Now they intend to lay waste to our ‘blue’ carbon ecosystems while telling the public that they are pursuing a green agenda.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Scotland has astounding green energy potential and vast natural resources, with a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind potential, and we have a responsibility to ensure our nation seizes this opportunity to create tens of thousands of new jobs and secure billions of pounds of investment in oureconomy. However, any development will be undertaken in a sustainable and informed manner.”