The majority of Scotland’s councils have no idea how much taxpayers’ cash they are spending on processing wind farm applications.
Only nine of Scotland’s 32 local authorities could say how much they had spent on dealing with submissions over the past five years.
Those that could give figures said that processing applications had cost them a total of £798,000. The SNP has approved 57 renewable projects since 2007, while only six have been rejected.
Alex Salmond has set a target of achieving the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s power to come from alternative sources by the end of the decade. But critics say that the volume of applications and hundreds of objections each bid attracts is burying council staff in paperwork.
Anti-wind farm protesters plan to march in Perth on Saturday to coincide with the SNP conference.
Campaigner Linda Holt said: “Planning departments do not have the resources to cope with the sheer quantity of speculative applications. They often run to hundreds of pages, require consultation with agencies and attract hundreds of objections.”
Liz Smith, Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said: “It is nothing for a major energy firm to throw in speculative applications for inappropriate wind farms, but councils then have to pour in all kinds of resources to resolve it.”
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