Wind turbine applications 'rise seven-fold under SNP'

The number of wind turbine applications being submitted to Scottish councils has risen by 600 per cent since the Scottish National Party (SNP) came to power in 2007, according to the Scottish Conservatives.

Braes of Doune wind farm near Stirling, Scotland
Braes of Doune wind farm near Stirling, Scotland

A Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Conservatives has revealed that 5,528 applications for turbines have been made to the country’s planning authorities over the last five years - the equivalent of about five a day.

According to the figures, only 790 applications were submitted in the seven years between 1999 and 2006, under the previous Labour administration, marking a seven-fold rise since Alex Salmond became First Minister in May 2007.

Salmond's SNP administration - first as a minority government and now with an overall majority - has pursued a controversial pro-wind farms policy, aiming to generate all the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

The figures show that Aberdeenshire has received the most applications of any local authority in the past five years, with 1,078.

Councils that have experienced a huge rise since the seven years up to 2007 include the Scottish Borders, South Ayrshire, and Orkney, which have all experienced more than 14-fold increases.

Two authorities, the Moray Council and Fife Council, asked for a moratorium on wind farm decisions this summer, citing concerns about the time and cost of processing applications. But planning minister Derek Mackay refused.

Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont MSP said: "We accept wind farms, if sensitively sited, have a role to play in Scotland's energy sector.

"But ludicrous targets of producing 100 per cent energy from renewables are at best fanciful, and at worst costly and dangerous.

"Turbines are intermittent and unreliable, and the SNP's obsession with them risk ruining our countryside and making our energy production industry the laughing stock of the world."

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "Scotland has astounding green energy potential and vast natural resources, with a quarter of Europe's offshore wind potential, and we have a responsibility to ensure our nation seizes this opportunity to create tens of thousands of new jobs and secure billions of pounds of investment in our economy.

"The Scottish government believes that wind farms should only be built in the right places and provides a variety of support for local authorities to ensure that happens."

john.geoghegan@haymarket.com


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