Communities would be allowed to call a halt to wind farm developments under plans revealed by the Scottish Conservatives.
A proposal to give local people the ability to impose moratoriums on wind farms features in the party’s action plan for rural Scotland ahead of May’s election.
The party said the move would help restore local accountability in the face of an “increasing creep of centralisation” under the SNP.
The document pledges: ” With a moratorium on shale gas exploration now in place, the precedent has been set and the Scottish Conservatives will argue that if councils want to put a wind farm moratorium in place, they should be allowed to do so.”
The Tories have also promised to provide more affordable rural homes, introduce universal broadband by the end of the decade, and increase the number of national parks in Scotland.
Leader Ruth Davidson has already called for an independent inquiry into the delays to EU Common Agricultural Policy payments to farmers and crofters.
Her party also pledged to give retiring farmers planning exemptions for building homes on agricultural land and support the fishing industry to comply with new regulations.
The action plan said both farmers and fishers are “fed up with empty promises and vacuous posturing from the SNP”.
Unveiling her rural plans on a visit to the summit of Cairngorm in the Highlands, Ms Davidson said: “Rural Scotland is already just about the most beautiful place on earth. But we need to make sure it has a better quality of life too.
“Pledges like accelerating rural broadband coverage, empowering communities over issues like local policing and wind farm development, and supporting affordable housing for young people will ensure that happens.
“For too long the SNP Government has been allowed to operate a central belt bias, and that has damaged our rural economy.
“It’s time for that to change, and by launching this report we have shown we are the only party absolutely committed to the wellbeing of rural Scotland.”
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