Secretive SNP blasted for redacting key responses to wind farms consultation
Credit: Campaign group Scotland Against Spin has slated the Scottish Government for redacting substantial parts of their response to their wind farm consultation. | By David Walker, Journalist | Scottish Daily Express | 27 JUL 2022 | www.scottishdailyexpress.co.uk ~~
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The Scottish Government has been caught up in another secrecy scandal as they were blasted for redacting key responses to their wind farms consultation.
Published on Tuesday, the Onshore Wind Policy Statement included a number of replies from campaign groups, developers and members of the public.
The document was an analysis of all the contributions that had been made to the consultation as the SNP look to refresh their wind farm policy.
Wind farm campaign group Scotland Against Spin contributed to the discussion but were left angered when a “very significant proportion” of their response was redacted.
This included key information about the Beuly Denny transmission line which the group claim is where electricity is transported hundreds of miles away and local people are forced to pay for it.
The £820 million project was paid for by Scottish Hydroelectricity and Scottish Power and exports power from northern Scotland’s onshore wind farms and will be used for future developments. Ofgem allowed the cost of this to be recouped from customers.
So despite the wind farms being in the north, all the power is being transferred around the UK at an expense to the bill-payer instead of it being used more efficiently closer to the generation site.
It is just one section of their lengthy response which was omitted by the Scottish Government who were accused of using the consultation as a “wish list” for the renewable industry.
A spokeswoman for the group told the Scottish Daily Express: “SAS has asked the Scottish Government why a very significant proportion of our response was redacted.
“They consult but then apparently remove anything which doesn’t suit them, the usual response being “It’s not in the public interest” or It’s not relevant”. Everything in our submission was very relevant and definitely in the public interest. We await their response.
“It was evident this ‘public’ consultation was designed for the renewable industry so that they could post their wish list to be taken on board by the Scottish Gov.
“For example, one company, ( Community Windpower Ltd) has said in its consultation response that it wants to get rid of community benefit payments and feels community ownership is a bad thing because it makes getting consent more difficult.”
Their 27-page response to the consultation is riddled with a number of redactions, with a whole page even blurred out so the reader cannot see what they are writing about.
Scotland Against Spin’s almost entire reply to how wind farms affect tourism is completely unreadable as is their section on network charges is also almost completely redacted.
Other respondents to the consultation warned the SNP that their plans to double Scotland’s onshore wind capacity ignore the damage that would be caused to rural parts of the country already “saturated” with turbines.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We need bold action to tackle the climate emergency and Scotland has some of the most extensive renewable generation capabilities in Europe with which to accelerate our just transition to net zero. Onshore wind is one of the most cost-effective forms of large-scale electricity generation and also one of the cheapest forms of electricity, making it is vital to Scotland’s future energy mix as we transition to a net-zero economy.
“We are grateful to those who responded to the recent consultation on our draft Onshore Wind Policy statement. The responses and consultation analysis will help inform our final Onshore Wind Policy Statement, which we intend to publish by the end of the year.
“The consultation responses were screened and, where appropriate, redacted in line with the Scottish Government moderation guidance. The aim of this process is not to censor views but to ensure the discussion is fair, inclusive, relevant and constructive.”
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