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Alex Salmond 'pouring all his eggs into the wind energy basket'

Tories slam Scottish Government for overruling councils on wind turbine applications 20 times.

Wind turbines. Alternative energy. Renewable energy. Renewables.
STV

The Scottish Government has been labelled "wind obsessed" after figures suggested a third of wind applications rejected by councils this year were later given the go-ahead by ministers.

The Scottish Conservative Party said its research showed the Scottish Government overruled local authorities on windfarm and wind turbine applications on 20 occasions since January.

The move came despite "significant concern from communities" about the impact of turbines and fears about the effect they are having on the landscape.

Scottish Conservatives said that, since the start of the year, 63 appeals were made to the SNP administration at Holyrood after councils rejected the initial submissions. Of that figure, 43 appeals were rejected and 20 were allowed.

Those projects given the green light covered areas across Scotland, from the Western Isles to Dumfries and Galloway.

Tory leader Ruth Davidson MSP said ministers should respect the decisions made by councils.

"When local authorities turn down applications for windfarms or wind turbines, it is for good reason," she said.

"Either planning officials will have concerns over their visual effect or communities fear the impact on their doorstep.

"Often it is a combination of both, but on a third of occasions this year that hasn't stopped the Scottish Government pushing them through anyway.

"The SNP's obsession with wind power cannot be allowed to damage hillsides and ridges across Scotland.

"We have always said appropriately sited windfarms can play a role in a mixed energy source environment.

"Instead, Alex Salmond is pouring all his eggs into the wind energy basket - a source that has been found to be unreliable and intermittent, not to mention hugely unpopular with the general public.

"Councils are best placed to know what is best for their areas, and it's time the Scottish Government started respecting their positions and decisions."

In November the Tories called into question the level of scrutiny given to wind farm developments after it emerged that ministers approved 83% of all major applications submitted since 2007.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "Scotland has open, inclusive and transparent planning processes which give the right protection to our magnificent landscapes, and which take the views of local communities into account.

"Developers have a right of appeal on the decisions of planning authorities to local review bodies or to Scottish ministers. In two-thirds of wind turbine cases appealed to Scottish ministers, reporters have upheld the view of the local authority."

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