Protest planned as 44,000 Scots object to windfarm applications

Scottish Conservatives claim figures show 'public alarm' at SNP's renewable energy policy.

New Windfarm: Building to begin on Altyre Estate

More than 44,000 Scots have objected to windfarm applications since 2008, according to Conservative Party estimations.

Figures obtained from 23 of the country's 32 local authorities show around 34,000 objections were submitted, ranging from an estimated 9421 in Aberdeenshire, to two objections in East Dunbartonshire.

Six other councils have received more than 1000 objections, ranging from 3333 in Argyll and Bute to 1342 in South Ayrshire.

More than 14,000 complaints, or around two-fifths of the total, were received in 2012 alone.

Meanwhile the Scottish Government has been contacted directly by more than 10,000 people objecting to major applications only considered by Holyrood, figures obtained by the Tories earlier this year showed.

Anti-windfarm campaigners have arranged a protest at the SNP conference in Inverness this weekend.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser, convener of the Scottish Parliament's energy committee, said: "The tens of thousands of objections right across the country show the sheer level of public alarm at the SNP's windfarm obsession.

"And what's worse, all too often these concerns are completely ignored by an SNP government intent on fulfilling their own ludicrous renewable energy goals, whatever the cost.

"People aren't just concerned about windfarms ruining their landscape and quality of life, they don't want Scotland's electricity supply dependent on a source that is unreliable and intermittent.

"When a council votes against a windfarm application, usually with the backing of its planning experts and local communities, the Scottish Government should respect that.

"Instead, we see ministers in Edinburgh overturning those decisions without any regard for local feelings or the knock-on effect any windfarm may have.

"It's time the SNP had a reality check and accepted that while people don't mind the odd windfarm being part of the mixed energy solution, there are far better avenues to explore."

Meanwhile, a recent YouGov poll suggests that support for windfarms remains high across party boundaries.

The poll found that 77% of SNP supporters, 76% of Lib Dem supporters, 68% of Labour supporters and 55% of Conservative supporters "support the continuing development of wind power as part of a mix of renewable and conventional forms of electricity generation".

When asked if they would be for or against the development of large scale wind energy projects being built in their council area, 77% of SNP supporters, 71% of Liberal Democrat supporters, 64% of Labour supporters and 53% of Conservative supporters said they were in favour.

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