The number of wind turbines per head of population in Scotland is more than five times greater than in England.
There is one turbine for every 3,750 Scots but only one per 20,000 English residents, latest research shows.
Alex Salmond has pledged to produce 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020.
But a report by engineering expert Professor Jack Ponton warns that achieving that goal will require four times the current number of turbines. That would cover an area more than twice the combined size of Edinburgh and Glasgow with wind farms, according to his study.
Writing in a personal capacity for the publication Wild Lands Review, Professor Ponton, emeritus professor of engineering at Edinburgh University, said: ‘To produce the fabled “100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity from renewables by 2020” will require four times the current number of turbines, ie 5,600.
‘You can only get four turbines per square kilometre so we are looking at 1,400 square kilometres [540 square miles] covered in 450ft turbines. I cannot believe even Mr Salmond would have contemplated industrialising more than twice the area of our two largest cites.
‘If this came to pass, it is hard to see how much of our wild lands could escape the impact.
‘People forced to live near large turbines have had their lives destroyed by the noise.’
Professor Ponton added: ‘Thanks to Mr Salmond’s enthusiasm for turbines, Scotland’s countryside is carrying the main burden of the UK’s wind energy programme.
‘In England, there is one wind turbine per 20,000 people, in Scotland there is one per 3,750. In the Borders, there is one for every 440 people. Lauderdale contains 43 turbines and has a population of 2,500, so there is one turbine for every 60 people.’
Planning Minister Derek Mackay said: ‘The Scottish Government is proposing strengthening environmental protection in the 31 per cent of Scotland covered by our wildest and most scenic land, including no wind farms in the 19 per cent covered by national parks and scenic areas.
‘At the same time, we are proposing an increase in the separation distance between wind farms and towns and villages.’
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