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Wind farm question Nats cannot answer  

Credit:  By Paul Gilbride | January 25, 2013 | www.express.co.uk ~~

The SNP Government admitted yesterday it does not know how much land has been sacrificed to wind farm developments.

The revelation comes after it emerged SNP ministers have received 10,000 separate objections to wind turbine plans over the last five years.

They have, however, managed to approve four out of five wind farm planning applications.

Scottish Tory chief whip John Lamont said: “It is quite unbelievable that the SNP has no idea how much of Scotland’s land is being taken up with wind farm development.

“For a Scottish Government that is so fixated on wind energy, this is a staggering oversight.

“We now have a position in Scotland where councils don’t know how many turbines they have, and the Scottish Government doesn’t know how much land is being taken up.

“Alex Salmond is playing a risky game with Scotland’s landscape. The least he could do is monitor how much of it he is sacrificing.

“It is no wonder the public are losing trust in the SNP’s judgment, with communities all over Scotland being subjected to damaging application after damaging application.

“The SNP are desecrating Scotland’s countryside in their headlong pursuit of wind energy.

“Then, when it is rejected by the council and the community, there is a real risk the SNP will overturn it anyway.”

The Scottish Tories had asked Energy Minister Fergus Ewing how many acres of land had been or would be handed over to wind farms. But Mr Ewing could only say that the SNP Government “did not hold the information”.

Last month, it also emerged through Freedom of Information laws that just 10 out of Scotland’s 32 local authorities could say how many wind turbines were in their areas.

Yesterday’s admission came as a report from Cardiff University into devolution and renewable energy found that the SNP Government was ahead of the rest of the UK, but it also said the public were not being consulted enough. It warned: “Reforms to planning across the UK, at Westminster and in the devolved governments, have also been designed to facilitate the delivery of major energy projects rather than open up public debate.”

The report’s chief author, Dr Richard Cowell, said: “Devolved governments have not taken major steps to increase public engagement in renewable energy development.

“There is positive support for community renewables, but also a shared view that planning processes for major energy infrastructure should be centralised and streamlined.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said it does not set aside land for wind farms. He added: “Developers put forward proposals and planning authorities and Scottish Government consider applications against land use planning policies and on their individual merits to ensure that development only goes ahead in the right places.

“We are monitoring the renewables capacity being commissioned across Scotland, and estimate that the land area of Scotland accounted for by wind farms is less than 0.6 per cent.”

Source:  By Paul Gilbride | January 25, 2013 | www.express.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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