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Wind farm protests to Holyrood soar to 10,000

Scotland is banking on tourism recovering this year after a sodden 2012. But the tourism sector is having an increasing battle against wind farm incursion across many of our most scenic areas.


According to research released this week, nearly 10,000 people across Scotland have objected directly to the Scottish Government about major wind farm applications in the last five years.

The administration is reckoned to have received 9,868 protests about developments over 50 megawatts, which are deemed too large for local authorities on which to pass judgement. Some individual applications received in excess of 2,000 objections, while many of the wind farms which were vigorously contested were handed planning consent anyway.

The figures compiled by the Scottish Conservatives emerged following a parliamentary question by Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser. The objections directed at the Scottish government in Edinburgh will be only a fraction of the overall objections to wind farms, as Scotland’s local authorities deal with the majority of cases. Since 2008, only 4,051 letters of support were received about the major wind farm applications.

The Scottish Conservatives revealed in November how the SNP waved through 83 per cent of the wind farm bids it received, while the Scottish Government’s fondness for renewables has seen five wind farm applications made a day since 2007.

Murdo Fraser, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s energy committee, said: “Given the sheer number of objections received, the SNP should be left in no doubt about how Scotland’s communities feel about wind farms. And this is the thin end of the wedge, because these are people who have been so irked by the treat of looming wind turbines, they have taken the time to formally contact the Scottish Government to protest. This figure does not include the thousands more who find turbines unsightly and unnecessary. What is more galling is, despite receiving 10,000 objections, many of these wind farms were waved through anyway. The SNP’s wind energy obsession has to be curbed or every vista in Scotland will be at-risk from an invasion of great, white turbines. That will have a negative impact on tourism and the everyday enjoyment rural communities get from their surroundings.”