A senior Tory has compared the march of wind farms in Scotland’s countryside to the threat posed by Nazi Germany.
Struan Stevenson has provoked the wrath of energy companies by urging Britons opposed to turbines to “recapture the same spirit that defeated Nazi Germany and turned the tide of history”.
Writing in The Sunday Times, the Scottish MEP, president of the European parliament’s climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development intergroup, says: “Scots are battling to save our natural heritage from an invasion of foreign energy companies who take advantage of outrageous public subsidies to bank huge profits from wind farm developments across Scotland.
“This has already led to a desecration of our cherished countryside, with disastrous consequences for our environment, economy and wellbeing. If allowed to continue, I fear there will be no turning back for our nation.”
Stevenson, who also links wind farms to soaring fuel poverty because they still leave the country reliant on expensive imported gas, added: “Those of us who value Scotland and recognise the folly of this policy must stand up and be counted. Now is the time to recapture the same spirit that defeated Nazi Germany and turned the tide of history.”
Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables – the green energy trade association – said many people would find the comparison “distasteful”.
Stevenson complains that the SNP target to generate the equivalent of 100% of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020 is devastating the environment.
He adds that it means handing vast subsidies to wealthy landowners and energy firms and that it leads to higher fuel bills than would be the case if money was invested in nuclear power.
But Stuart added: “Figures published by Stevenson’s colleagues at Westminster show wind and other renewables are making a massive dent in Scotland’s carbon emissions while supporting thousands of jobs across the country – exactly what support for the sector was designed to achieve.
“The growth of Scotland’s renewable energy industry is in large part due to the policies of the coalition government, so he is essentially at war with his own party colleagues.”
Stevenson defended his approach, saying: “We’re confronting the biggest transfer of money from the poor to the rich that Scotland has ever witnessed. One or two siren voices like me have to use emotive language to get people to wake up.”
He singled out plans by the French company EDF to erect 18 turbines in the Airriequhillart valley in the Machars of Wigtownshire, which he said would tower over the ancient Roman camps, picturesque cottages and farmsteads.
EDF said it will consult closely with the community around Airriequhillart to give residents detailed information about its plans which are “at a relatively early stage”.
A spokesman added: “Before any planning application is submitted a full environmental impact assessment will be undertaken, which studies a wide range of potential impacts.”