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Figures highlight public opposition to huge windfarm developments

Nearly 25,000 objections were lodged against proposals to build wind turbines the “size of skyscrapers” across Scotland.

Official figures have revealed the extent of public disquiet over plans for 50-megawatt developments considered by the Scottish Government between 2010-14.

They showed there were 5,942 objections to schemes this year so far in comparison to 2,951 in 2013, 5,718 in 2012, 1,371 in 2011 and 7,764 in 2010.

Local authorities deal with smaller developments but those over 50mw require ministerial consent under Section 36 of the Electricity Act.

A total of 6,831 notes of support for 50MW schemes were lodged over the four year period.

Highland anti-windfarm campaigner Lynsey Ward, of Kiltarlity, said: “These figures are astounding and send a warning shot to new First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

“Votes continue to be lost for her party and government just as they were for independence because rural people are being swamped by predatory multinational wind developers.”

Campaigners opposed to plans for a 67-turbine development which would cover an area the size of Inverness in the hills at Stronelairg near Fort Augustus are taking their fight to the Court of Session this month after it was approved by SNP ministers.

The Scottish Conservatives’ energy spokesman Murdo Fraser said: “The fact these objections have doubled in the last year shows the sheer strength of feeling among the public.

“Windfarms the size of skyscrapers are not wanted on beautiful wild land.”

The criticism was dismissed by a spokesman for Energy Minister Fergus Ewing who claimed “Tory hot air and hypocrisy on windfarms continue apace.”.

“Murdo Fraser complains whilst a number of other Tory MSPs (Jamie McGrigor and Alex Fergusson) continue to profit handsomely from windfarm developments on their land.

“What is important is that windfarms are located in the correct place and that is what the planning system is designed to achieve.”

The spokesman said the government had taken action to strengthen planning policy on onshore windfarms.

A windfarm company is seeking a judicial review of the refusal of its plans in the Highlands, claiming that the government’s decision was “flawed”.

Proposals for the Glenmorie windfarm, between Ardross and Ardgay, were rejected by Mr Ewing in August after he agreed with the findings of a public local inquiry reporter.