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Millions of trees torn down to make way for windfarms

2 Jan 2014

Murdo Fraser MSP

Millions of trees have been cut down to clear the way for windfarm developments since the SNP came to power, it has been revealed.

Information obtained by the Scottish Conservatives has revealed 2,510 hectares have been destroyed since 2007 as the Scottish Government attempts to meet its own renewable energy targets.

Only a fraction of those trees have been replanted, with the number of hectares destroyed equating to around five million trees.

The figures were received following a Freedom of Information request made to the Forestry Commission Scotland.

They show that despite the 2,510 hectares felled, only 792 hectares have been replanted in their place after the turbines were erected.

It is the latest damning statistic in relation to the SNP’s determination to build windfarms across the country.

It wants Scotland to produce 100 per cent of its energy from renewables, despite warnings from experts and communities across Scotland that turbines spoil landscapes and harm wildlife.

The Scottish Government has said in the past it wants developers to undertake “compensatory replanting” when trees are destroyed in this way.

The Scottish Conservatives have called for a year-long moratorium on windfarm planning applications in Scotland.

Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Murdo Fraser MSP said:

“The SNP is so blindly obsessed with renewable energy that it doesn’t mind destroying another important environmental attribute to make way for it.

“It’s quite astonishing to see almost as many trees have been destroyed as there are people in Scotland.

“The contribution of trees to our environment has been well established through the ages.

“I’m still waiting to see compelling evidence of the contribution windfarms make.

“They are an expensive, intermittent and unreliable alternative, and not one that it’s worth making this level of sacrifice to accommodate.

“If the Scottish Government cooled its ludicrous renewable energy targets, we wouldn’t see this kind of wanton destruction and intrusion on our landscape.”

 

Below is a copy of the Freedom of Information response received by the Forestry Commission:

 

INFORMATION REQUEST: WINDFARMS ON THE NATIONAL FOREST ESTATE
Thank you for your request for information regarding windfarm developments on the National Forest Estate (NFE) which we received on 23 September 2013.
This request for information is exempt under section 39(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 because this information is “environmental information”, as defined in regulation 2 of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. The request must therefore be considered under these Regulations.
Taking your questions in turn:
                         
How many acres have been felled to make way for wind farms or turbines since 2007?
 
The area of woodland felled on the National Forest Estate since 2007, associated with windfarm developments, is listed in the Table 1 below. Also listed are the areas which were replanted and areas which were intentionally left open for environmental habitat management purposes. Please note that the figures quoted are in hectares, as this is the format used in our calculations.
 
Table 1: Area of trees felled on the national forest estate associated with windfarm developments since 2007 Area felled within windfarm sites (Hectares)1
Area replanted within windfarm sites (Hectares)
Area not replanted and left open for environmental management (Hectares)
Area not replanted associated with windfarm infrastructure (Hectares)
2510
792
1403
315