22 Jul 2012
The Scottish Conservatives are calling for a solution to be found which would ease the cost of windfarm applications on local authorities.
It comes after the Scottish Government admitted it had not assessed the cost impact, despite setting some of the highest renewable energy targets in the world.
Two councils have already called for a moratorium on planning applications for windfarms because of the sheer cost and workload involved in bringing the bids through the system.
Large companies have been encouraged to flood council planning departments with applications by the SNP’s aggressive, pro-windfarm agenda.
That includes providing 100 per cent of Scotland’s energy through renewables.
The Scottish Conservatives have submitted Freedom of Information requests to all councils asking how much the process has cost them over the past five years.
The Scottish Government has set aside £300,000 to help coastal councils bear the cost, though this pledge came in the same letter that was sent to all councils instructing them to set aside areas for preferred development to invite yet more applications.
Scottish Conservative Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith said:
“The SNP is presiding over a chaotic local planning system which, in many cases, takes little heed of local democracy.
“Council planning departments are already under severe pressure to deal with these applications, and even the councils who do have preferred areas of development are receiving numerous speculative applications for places they have already stated are not suitable.
“The Scottish Conservatives are determined to find out the true extent of the costs to local taxpayers, which is why I have submitted Freedom of Information requests to all of Scotland’s councils to ascertain just how much money has been spent since 2007.
“It is clear that we need radical reform of the planning system.
“The SNP’s drive to push through windfarm developments at the same cost as planning applications for small businesses and local people can only add to the problems faced by councils.”
The Scottish Government said in a recent Parliamentary Answer that it had made no cost impact assessment of windfarm applications:
It can be seen on p7 of this document: