Taxpayers have had to foot the bill for £1.5million worth of wind turbines in school grounds, it has been revealed.
Councils built dozens of turbines at schools across the country at huge cost to the public purse, only to decommission many of them a few years later.
Figures released yesterday revealed that 68 turbines had been built on school grounds over the past few years, with some local authorities involving as many as 16 schools in renewable energy projects.
And, while the taxpayer has been forced to bankroll the turbines to the tune of £1.5million, the private sector has invested only £267,488 in turbines sited at schools.
It also emerged that since being erected, more than one in five of the turbines have been decommissioned.
Reasons for decommissioning the turbines were not provided by the 22 local authorities involved in putting them up in school grounds, but, previously, wind turbines at three Highland primary schools were decommissioned after they were found to be inefficient.
Tory education spokeswoman Liz Smith, who unearthed the statistics in a Freedom of Information request, said: “The SNP’s relentless drive for wind turbines has gone too far, and now we learn that even schools aren’t spared from this obsession.
“Worse still, it turns out that one fifth of the turbines erected on school premises in recent years have already been decommissioned, placing an additional burden upon the taxpayer as well as upon hard-pressed councils.
“As the debate rages about the efficiency of wind energy, there are serious questions to be asked about large sums of public money being spent on turbines which, only a few years later, are decommissioned.”
Highland Council has the most schools with wind turbines, with 16 involved.
In Orkney there are nine schools with turbines, while Fife and Midlothian have seven each.
Last year, Highland Council switched off wind turbines at all 16 of its school sites after fears were raised that they are a risk to children.
Campaigners claimed there was a risk of the blades snapping off and injuring children, but the majority were turned back on following safety checks.
A spokesman for council umbrella group Cosla said that authorities were obliged to publicly demonstrate their commitment to green energy schemes because they had signed up in 2007 to Scotland’s Climate Change Declaration.
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