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Five wind farm applications a day under the SNP  

Credit:  By Simon Johnson, Scottish Political Editor | The Telegraph | 21 November 2012 | www.telegraph.co.uk ~~

Figures obtained by the Scottish Tories under the Freedom of Information Act show 5,528 applications have been made since May 2007, seven times more than under the previous Labour-led administration.

One local authority, Aberdeenshire, has received more than 1,000 planning applications over this period, while a series of other rural councils have experienced a 14-fold increase since the SNP came to power.

The figures are further evidence of the pressure being exerted by wind farm companies on local councils, which are being forced to divert millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to deal with the influx.

Local authorities have complained that many energy companies are submitting “opportunistic” applications in unsuitable areas in the hope that overstretched planning departments wave them through.

Earlier this year planning chiefs warned MSPs that Scotland’s countryside is in danger of becoming a “wind farm landscape” as ever more sensitive sites are targeted to achieve Alex Salmond’s green energy targets.

But the First Minister yesterday used a speech in Germany to boast about his plan to generate the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

John Lamont Scottish Conservative chief whip, said: “Alex Salmond is sending out an unashamed message to wind farm companies across the world that Scotland’s hills, ridges and fields are fair game.

“The SNP has paid no regard to the feelings of communities, many of which are living under the constant threat of massive turbines glaring down from their once unspoilt landscape.

“It is clear, with almost five wind farm applications every day since Alex Salmond came to power, that he is the one driving this.”

The First Minister’s Aberdeenshire home received the most applications over the last five years, with the total of 1,078 the equivalent of more than four a week.

This total represents an 11-fold increase on the total lodged in the final term of the previous Labour-led administration.

Dumfries and Galloway has received 806 applications since Mr Salmond came to power compared to 62 in the previous eight years of Scottish devolution.

Wind farm companies have also lodged 554 plans for turbines in Fife under the SNP, compared to 36 previously, while the total for the Highlands has increased from 129 to 465.

The Perthshire and Kinross total has more than trebled from 49 to 155, while Angus Council has experienced a ninefold increase from 26 to 229.

Meanwhile, Scottish Borders had received just 17 applications for wind farms before 2007 compared to 253 since the SNP came to power.

Earlier this month the Daily Telegraph disclosed how a thousand turbines are on course to be built in the Borders amid accusations of the SNP bullying the local council.

But, speaking at the University of Hannover in Germany yesterday, Mr Salmond cited an opinion poll which he said showed 77 per cent of people support renewable power and only four per cent are opposed.

“And their view is also more favourable if you can explain how local communities benefit from the revenues earned by wind farms in their area,” he said.

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “The constant attacks on onshore wind are jeopardising future investment and jobs, and the growth of key sectors like wave and tidal energy and offshore wind.”

Source:  By Simon Johnson, Scottish Political Editor | The Telegraph | 21 November 2012 | www.telegraph.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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