Stirling Council’s Conservatives have welcomed a government move to end wind farm subsidies which they claim are a “rip-off” and have caused so much destruction to the area’s landscape.
But the Scottish Government has slammed Westminster for failing to consult with them, and claims the decision will have a negative impact on the country’s economy.
Neil Benny, leader of the Conservative Group on the council said: “This is great news for Stirling, for our wild places and for our tourist industry.
“We have always fought to protect Stirling’s landscapes against the SNP obsession with carpeting our landscape with more wind farms.”
Stirling Council is currently consulting on new proposals to allow more development of wind farms following a challenge from the SNP Scottish Government to the policies protecting areas of great landscape value in the Carron Valley and Stirling Carse areas.
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The most recent energy figures show renewables continue to go from strength to strength, with almost half of Scotland’s electricity use coming from renewables last year and wind delivering record amounts of power, which makes this decision by the UK Government even more regrettable.
“The Scottish Government strongly disagrees with this decision which was made without our consent and will have such a negative impact on a key sector of the Scottish economy. The proposals have a disproportionate impact on Scotland as around 70 per cent of onshore wind projects in the UK planning system are here.
“There are many communities and companies who have invested significant amounts of money in renewables schemes and have now found the goal posts have been moved, putting crucial investment and jobs at risk.”
But according to the Stirling Tory group, the subsidy regime introduced by the Labour Government has made development and energy companies wealthy on the back of energy price hikes.
The end of the renewable subsidy regime means that new developments will not enjoy the cash windfalls available up until now. Existing wind farms and those with planning permission will not be affected.
Originally designed to encourage innovation in the sector, the Conservatives say the subsidies have become a major way for utilities companies to profit from inflated energy prices.
Mr Benny added: “Conservatives realise that destroying the landscape whilst ripping off consumers to put money into the hands of energy companies and large landowners is neither fair nor just.
“Ending the subsidy regime will hopefully stem the tide of industrial scale wind farms and I am proud the Conservatives have done this.”
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