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Pollution reports deal a blow to windfarm lobby

Damning of windfarms polluting the Scottish countryside yesterday prompted demands for a full parliamentary probe into turbines.

Scotland’s environmental watchdog has investigated more than 100 incidents involving the mechanical giants in just six years, including diesel spills, dirty rivers, blocked drains and excessive noise.

Alarmingly, they also include the contamination of drinking water and the indiscriminate dumping of waste, with warning notices issued to a number of energy giants.

The revelations come just a week after it emerged £1.8 billion in government subsidies has been awarded to operators to build turbines since Alex Salmond took office in 2007.

Murdo Fraser MSP, convener of Holyrood’s economy, energy and tourism committee, said: “I am both surprised and concerned by the scale of these incidents.

“The wind industry constantly portrays itself as being environmentally-friendly and talks about clean, green, energy, but the fact there were more than 100 complaints is a dismal record.

“This should serve as a wake-up call that wind energy is not as clean and green as is being suggested.”

Promotion of green energy, particularly the growth of onshore and offshore windfarms, has been a key Nationalist policy since 2007.

The SNP Government’s target is to generate the equivalent of 100% of the country’s electricity consumption, and 11% of heat demand, from renewables by 2020.

In recent years ministers have invested heavily in the sector, insisting Scotland has a quarter of all of Europe’s wind energy potential.

Now, despite being heralded as a green form of energy, it has emerged that the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has investigated 130 “pollution reports” connected to windfarms or turbines over the past six years.

Linda Holt, spokeswoman for action group Scotland Against Spin, said: “We have always suspected windfarms can do great harm to the landscape and now we have proof. It’s time for an inquiry.”

Officials at Sepa stressed not all 130 complaints were found to be a direct result of windfarms, with some caused by “agricultural and human activities” near turbine sites and others still unsubstantiated.