A leading member of Ukip has been accused of hypocrisy after striking wind-farm deals for his Scottish estates despite the party’s vehement opposition to “ghastly” turbines.
Ukip economic spokesman Professor Tim Congdon, a leading Thatcherite economist, has cashed in on deals with SSE in Argyll and E.On Renewables in Caithness, the Sunday Herald can reveal.
His action is at odds with Ukip’s opposition to wind farms on the basis they are economically “unsustainable” and eyesores.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage says wind-farm expansion is “madness” and, in 2012, attacked David Cameron for pursuing “this loopy idea that we can cover Britain in ugly disgusting ghastly windmills”.
The party opposes wind farms in the Forest of Dean, where Congdon will be the candidate for the 2015 election.
Congdon admitted he was “maybe hypocritical”. He granted SSE access to a track through three forests he owns in Kintyre so the firm can build a 10-turbine wind farm at Cour. He refused to say what he was being paid, but hinted it was considerable.
In 2010, Congdon signed an agreement with E.On Climate & Renewables UK Developments Ltd for a potential wind farm at his Hollandmey Forest in Caithness.
Although E.On chose not to proceed, Congdon was entitled to early test and lease payments.
The terms included a £10,000 “option fee” and £25,000 “Hollandmey Farmhouse Compensation”.Congdon was in line for a “planning consent success fee” of £3000 per megawatt of installed capacity if E.On erected turbines on his land.
Congdon, 63, left the Tories in 2007 for Ukip, complaining that Cameron had burdened the party with “badly-rationalised environmentalism”.
Highlands SNP MSP Rob Gibson said: “This hypocritical stance shows exactly why Ukip will always be a total irrelevance in Scotland.”
Congdon said he had bought both estates as forestry investments, and had not planned for wind farms.
He said: “I just simply can’t turn [it] down. The sums of money are not the kind of thing that one can. I’m not doing anything illegal or immoral.”
Asked about the charge of hypocrisy, he said: “That’s a fair allegation to make. Maybe I’m hypocritical, but actually, you don’t know my views on renewables, and every political party has a range of beliefs.”
Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: “It speaks volumes that they say one thing to voters while their adviser does the exact opposite.”
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