‘Mega-turbines’ are on the march in Scotland after the SNP Government waved through increasingly higher versions – with some as tall as 853ft in the pipeline.
Massive structures have already been erected as part of wind farms so powerful they require ministerial consent to be built.
Growing numbers of turbines being passed by the Scottish Government are so tall they need to have lights fitted to alert passing aircraft.
Campaigners criticised the situation and the impact the structures have on the landscape and have warned that the sheer number of wind farm applications is ‘overwhelming’ communities.
Meanwhile, politicians have said the giant turbines could affect tourism, the environment and ‘the quality of life of those living in their shadow’.
Some of Scotland and the world’s best known monuments – including the Statue of Liberty and the Great Pyramid of Giza – pale in comparison to the proposed turbines.
Campaign group No Ring of Steel (NORoS), which is opposed to a number of wind farm applications in have criticised the ever-growing height of turbines and the impact they have on Scotland’s communities and landscape.
NORoS spokesman Ashley Smith said: ‘The sheer number of wind farm applications is overwhelming for communities like ours.
‘People are used to looking at existing wind farms which have turbines beneath the 150m [492ft] height limit. What they won’t realise until too late is how much bigger so many of these monster proposals are.
‘These mega turbines are significantly higher than any building in Scotland. They pose a significant risk to business, tourism, quality of life, wildlife and freshwater fishing.’
The tallest turbine in the UK is 656ft high, but plans have been submitted in Scotland for turbines higher than 850ft.
Wind farms of more than 50MW require ministerial consent. Since 2016 the Government has given consent to 49 onshore wind farms. The average maximum height in 2016 stood at 456ft but by last year the average stood at 570ft.
In addition, consent has been given so far this year for three wind farms with an average maximum height of 560ft, with several others with an average maximum height of 670ft submitted to the Government for consideration.
Those with a tip height of more than 150m (492ft) are required to adopt a lighting system to protect air traffic.
The tallest submitted for consideration north of the Border is Dunside Wind Farm in Berwickshire, put forward by EDF Renewables. It would comprise up to 20 turbines with a maximum tip height of 853ft – twice the size of Scotland’s tallest building, the Glasgow Tower.
Conservative MSP Brian Whittle said: ‘Onshore wind can be an important tool for reaching net zero. unfortunately, the Scottish Government has a bad habit of forcing developments through without giving enough consideration to rural communities.
‘While larger turbines may mean there’s a need for fewer turbines, they can still have a significant impact on tourism, the local environment, and the quality of life of those living in their shadow.
‘We should make the most of Scotland’s renewable energy potential but not at the expense of rural communities and our natural environment.’
A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘The planning system will enable the growth of this essential zero-carbon sector, which includes applications for taller turbines, while continuing to protect landscapes and ensuring communities have their say.’
A spokesman for Dunside Wind Farm said: ‘Technological advances mean it is possible to generate the same amount of green electricity from a smaller number of taller turbines.
‘At Dunside, we have carried out local consultation and the blade height specified in early consultation is the maximum that would be considered as we contribute to Scotland achieving net zero targets.’
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