A wind farm company has been accused of targeting propaganda at schoolchildren as young as five, with the backing of education bosses.
Primary pupils in north ayrshire were given a letter encouraging their parents to support the construction of more turbines.
The letter, apparently pre-written by a developer and addressed to the local authority’s planning department, contained a section for parents to sign in support of an application for a local wind farm extension.
Critics yesterday rounded on both the developer and the snP-run council for allowing the document to be distributed in its classrooms.
north ayrshire rejected criticism, claiming the letters were ‘directly relevant’ to pupils’ school work.
It is the most extreme example yet of the pressure being exerted by wind farm companies on scotland’s planning system.
It emerged last month that an average of five planning applications a day for wind farms had been lodged with councils since the snP came to power in May 2007.
Local authorities have come under pressure to alter their planning blueprints to allow more turbines, even where officials consider them to have reached ‘saturation point’.
struan stevenson, a scottish Tory MeP, said: ‘That this letter has been endorsed and distributed by the council beggars belief.
‘How can residents have faith in decisions on controversial planning proposals if it’s the council’s policy to allow distribution of pro-renewables propaganda on behalf of t he developers?’
The letter was handed to pupils at Dalry Primary school and st Palladius Primary school, also in Dalry.
Tory MsP Murdo Fraser, who chairs Holyrood’s energy committee, said: ‘This is nothing more than political manipulation of the classroom in support of an snP Government policy to promote the over-expansion of wind power, at a time when it is coming under more and more criticism.
‘Children need to be protected from propaganda of this nature.’
Chris McGovern of the Campaign for real education said: ‘This is a commercial enterprise infiltrating the school. It should be nipped in the bud.’
snP ministers said it was a matter for the local authority. a scottish Government spokesman added: ‘We do not condone this approach.’
But a council spokesman was unrepentant, saying: ‘neither of the schools are in any way endorsing the plans and are simply distributing information to the community.’
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