Energy minister Michael Matheson also admitted that no wind farm operators have been fined for failing to maintain their turbines and there is no scheme in place to monitor microplastic pollution.
A Scots Tory MSP has hit out after the SNP Government admitted it had no idea how many of Scotland’s 19,000 wind turbines may be releasing dangerous chemicals.
There have been concerns for years about the environmental impact from the erosion of microplastics from the colossal turbine blades, which are made with fibreglass and epoxy resin.
One of the chemicals is called Bisphenol A, which has been linked with fertility problems in humans and wildlife. Campaigners say a single turbine can emit up to 62 kilos of microplastics annually, although this is disputed by the renewables industry.
Highlands and Islands MSP, Donald Cameron, has attempted to find out more information about the issue with a series of questions at the Scottish Parliament.
In one, he asked the Scottish Government “how it currently monitors leading edge erosion on wind turbines, and whether it has any plans to increase this monitoring”.
Energy minister Michael Matheson replied the SNP-Green administration “is not responsible for taking action in this area”.
Mr Matheson also said the Scottish Government “does not provide funding for continued maintenance of wind turbines” and “has not issued any fines relating to the failure to maintain wind turbines”.
Finally, the Conservative MSP asked the “Scottish Government whether it has any plans to conduct a study on the impact of microplastic pollution and toxic compounds from wind turbines”.
Once again, the minister replied in the negative. “The Water Framework Directive does not currently include the requirement for the monitoring and assessment of microplastic pollution and specifically Bisphenol A in the water environment,” he said.
Speaking to the Scottish Daily Express, Mr Cameron said: “The dangers of microplastics and toxic substances from wind turbine erosion are well-documented, so it’s surprising that the SNP Government isn’t even bothering to monitor this.
“Despite their enthusiasm for windfarms, it appears that the SNP have washed their hands of any potentially harmful effects wind turbine erosion might have on the environment.
“The responsibility for wind turbine maintenance may lie with private companies, but the SNP must at the very least monitor the state of Scotland’s turbines and sanction any companies that don’t comply with safe upkeep.
“Otherwise we could end up facing an environmental hazard as a result of the very same turbines that are supposed to be helping us tackle climate change.”
Mr Matheson said the Scottish Government is funding researcher to “develop the understanding of sources and levels of emerging contaminants, including microplastics, in Scotland’s freshwaters and river sediments and recommend priorities and strategic approaches for future monitoring in Scotland”.
He added: “It is the responsibility of the wind farm operator to properly maintain their wind turbines, in accordance with their planning permission and any conditions imposed.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding