Moray campaigners have hit out after it emerged that hundreds of wind turbine blades may have to be buried in the future.
An official report has warned that rotor blades on the structures could be destined for landfill when they are decommissioned.
Unlike other parts of wind turbines – such as the foundations, tower and generator – the blades are made of complex materials which cannot be recycled.
Moray windfarm opponents said the revelation presented yet another reason why turbines should not be built.
Derek Ross has been an outspoken campaigner against the proposed BrownMuir windfarm near Elgin. Mr Ross said last night: “It’s another nail in the coffin for the wind industry. We have said all along that this industry isn’t environmentally friendly.”
He said windfarm projects failed to be “green” for a variety of reasons – for example the use of materials from overseas, the extraction of peat from the ground, the potential burial of rotor blades, and the visual impact. Mr Ross, of Glen of Rothes, added: “It’s an absolute disaster for Scotland. We are just getting surrounded by windfarms and ruining our precious countryside.”
Meanwhile Lhanbryde resident George Herraghty, an outspoken opponent of windfarms, said: “There are huge piles of these things in Denmark – they don’t know what to do with them.
“A total of 150 tons of coal are burned during the manufacture of turbine parts – 250 tons if it’s offshore.
“So they’re already starting from an unfortunate position in terms of producing harmful carbon dioxide.”
Mr Herraghty, a member of Grampian and Moray mountaineering clubs and “wild place” charity the John Muir Trust, added: “Most Scottish politicians seemed to have been completely bamboozled by the propaganda put out by the windfarm industry.
“These companies look at our countryside and just see empty space.
“However, places such as the Highlands and the Cairngorms are our most valuable asset, as well asbeing very delicate ecosystems. Walk up Ben Rinnes (Moray’s highest hill) now and whichever way you look you see turbines. These are not the views that tourists come to Scotland to see.”
A report for Aberdeenshire Council’s Garioch area planning committee, which will meet in Inverurie today, highlights that there is no UK or European- wide legislation which relates specifically to the disposal or recycling of redundant turbines.
The document, written by council planning officer Paul Duthie, refers to a Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) report and the Scottish Government’s webbased renewables advice, “Onshore wind turbines”.
It warns that the number of turbines approved across the north-east, their limited lifespan and the increasing opportunities to replace older models with more efficient types, could lead to a rise in the number of structures needing to be decommissioned.
It adds: “Rotor blades are more difficult to recycle due to their complex composition and materials.
“Wind turbine blades are typically manufactured from fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites.
“Current and impending general waste management legislation will put more pressure on the industry to address the options available for dealing with FRP waste. At present the most common disposal method for UK FRP waste is landfill.”
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