April 25, 2014

‘Give councils the final say’

By Cameron Brooks | The Press and Journal | Published: 25/04/2014 | www.pressandjournal.co.uk

Local authorities across the north and north-east should have the final say on whether or not controversial onshore windfarms are approved, it was proposed yesterday.

The Conservatives said the Scottish Government should not be allowed to overrule “informed” decisions made by members of council planning committees.

Research carried out by the party in 2012 showed 20 out of 63 appeals made to SNP ministers were upheld.

A spokeswoman for the government, which considers applications for windfarms in excess of 50 megawatts, claimed appeals were only considered by ministers in “specific circumstances”

She insisted that turbine decisions made by local planning authorities were supported in the “significant majority of cases”

Tory energy spokesman Murdo Fraser said: “It’s completely unacceptable for a council to make an informed decision on a windfarm application after consulting experts and local communities, only to be overruled by SNP ministers in Edinburgh.”

The Tories at Westminster have said they would give local authorities south of the border the final say on applications if they win the 2015 general election. They will also end to subsiding new windfarms.

Peter Argyle, chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee, said: “I would certainly support a call for local authorities to be left to determine their own planning policies in relation to onshore wind.”

Highland anti-wind campaigner Lyndsey Ward, of Kiltarlity said the proposal represented a “welcome step”.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2014/04/25/give-councils-the-final-say/