Fergus Ewing, the Energy Minister, published figures showing ministers have
received 9,868 protests over the past five years about wind developments
that produce more than 50 megawatts.
Although there were barely 4,000 messages of support, the SNP administration
has approved more than four out of five applications on which it has so far
The Scottish Conservatives, who uncovered the figures, said they should
leave ministers in no doubt about the strength of community opposition to
the spread of turbines across the countryside.
They were published as it emerged 40 representatives from every part of the
Scottish Borders have joined forces for the first time in an attempt to stop
Murdo Fraser, convener of Holyrood’s energy committee, said the 10,000 total
was the “thin end of the wedge” as it does not include objections to local
councils to proposals for smaller wind farms.
“What is more galling is, despite receiving 10,000 objections, many of
these wind farms were waved through anyway,” the Tory MSP said.
“The SNP’s wind energy obsession has to be curbed, otherwise every vista in
Scotland will be at-risk from an invasion of great, white turbines.”
The figures show in 2008 ministers received 618 submissions backing the
construction of large wind farms compared to 1,211 objections. Despite this,
they approved three of the four applications presented to them.
In 2009 there were 1,549 messages of support for seven large wind farms
compared to 3,109 protests. However, four were given planning consent.
The following year ministers received 256 submissions backing plans for wind
farms and 903 objections but they approved two of the six. Three have yet to
be ruled on and one was withdrawn.
In 2011 there were 1,567 messages of support and 1,966 of opposition to
large turbine developments. Ministers have so far approved three of the 13
applications and rejected none.
Although none of last year’s nine applications for large wind farms have
been ruled on yet, the Scottish Government received 2,679 letters of
objections compared to only 60 backing the plans.