March 16, 2021

Campaigners appeal to politicians to stand up to windfarms in Holyrood manifestos

The Galloway Gazette | Monday, 15th March 2021 |

A Dumfries and Galloway campaign group has urged political parties to prioritise the landscape over the interests of windfarm developers in their manifestos for the upcoming Holyrood election.

In a letter to party bosses, Save Our Hills said alternatives to onshore turbines should be explored as energy and planning policy is developed.

They want to see a more comprehensive development plan for the whole country, rather than the current “piecemeal” approach.

The newly-formed group also wants the views of local people to hold greater weight when decisions on windfarms are made by councils and the Scottish Government.

The letter states: “We are particularly concerned to know what, if any, balance you plan to strike between offshore and onshore windfarms under the present planning regime, not least by producing a comprehensive development plan for Scotland as a whole rather than the current piecemeal approach.

“In addition, we are interested as to whether you plan to give any greater weight to local opinion – particularly general objections not tied to current specific planning criteria – than has been given hitherto.”

Save Our Hills spokesman Iain Milligan said: “The upcoming election is of huge importance, but few things matter more to people in rural areas than the protection of their local area.

“For too long Scotland has been seen as a soft-touch when it comes to large windfarm developments.

“We want all parties to set out in their manifestos how they will prioritise Scotland’s unique and unrivalled landscape over the interests of windfarm developers, many of whom are owned by overseas firms.

“The opinions of local people must hold more weight when it comes to decision making, and we need a far more comprehensive planning strategy which covers the entire country.

“We appreciate that renewables are an important part of the energy mix, but the pendulum has swung too far from countryside communities.

“Any party which commits to changing this will be pleasantly surprised by the number of people across rural Scotland who will respond positively.”

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