The number of wind farms in Scotland is set to more than treble as developers look to take advantage of the SNP’s ‘obsession’ with turbines.
Figures show that the total number of wind farms operating in Scotland will rise from 131 at present to 435 if all those currently planned go ahead, while the number of turbines will increase to nearly 5,000.
SNP ministers believe that onshore wind can help Scotland achieve ambitious green energy targets, despite widespread fears in communities across Scotland about the impact that it will have on the countryside.
There are almost double the number of wind turbines in Scotland than in the rest of the UK put together.
And a new survey has also revealed widespread concerns about the impact that the drive towards wind will have on fuel bills, as well as suspicions that they are inefficient.
Mary Scanlon, energy spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said: ‘These alarming figures are further evidence of the SNP’s obsession with wind farms, which risk spoiling our countryside forever.
‘Scotland is bearing the brunt of Alex Salmond’s flawed renewable energy policy, with his relentless drive to cover the country in wind farms, often in the face of opposition from local communities and councils. We need a mixed energy solution, but perfectly reasonable ventures such as tidal or bio energy are missing out because the Scottish Government refuses to see past their own policies.’
The latest figures show that there are 479 turbines under construction in Scotland, while another 981 have been approved by local planners but not yet developed. A further 1,667 are currently progressing through the planning system.
If all go ahead, the number of turbines in Scotland will increase by 189 per cent, from 1,657 to 4,784.
New research by polling firm YourView UK shows that 82 per cent of people are concerned about the impact that wind farms could have on household fuel bills, while 60 per cent are concerned about how efficient they are and 32 per cent believe there are already too many.
The highest profile opponent of wind energy is American billionaire Donald Trump, who has regularly written to Alex Salmond to urge him to turn away from the ‘madness’ of the wind ‘monstrosities’.
Mr Trump bankrolled a national advertising campaign to persuade the public to help save the Scottish landscape.
He also appeared in front of a Holyrood committee, where he warned that Scotland was wrecking its tourist industry.
Kim Terry, a member of the Communities Against Turbines Scotland pressure group, said: ‘This obsession with wind power is nothing short of madness.
‘Turbines are changing our beautiful country forever. Huge swathes of the country are being given over to wind farms.
‘They ruin the lives of those in their shadow, affecting mental and physical health, and they make properties unsellable.
‘Everyone is affected by soaring fuel bills used to subsidise their construction. It’s a disgrace.’
There are 725 operational wind turbines in England, 529 in Wales and 251 in Northern Ireland.
Last week, plans were submitted for the world’s biggest offshore wind farm off Caithness. The 339-turbine proposals, from a joint venture between Spanish oil company Repsol and an arm of Portuguese power group EDP, would have capacity to power 40 per cent of Scottish households.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘We need a balanced energy mix drawing from a variety of sources, including onshore wind, the cheapest renewable technology.
‘We want to see the right developments in the right places. All applications are subject to careful scrutiny.’
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