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Public objections to major windfarms double

8 Dec 2014

The number of public objections to large-scale windfarms in Scotland has doubled in the last year, latest figures have revealed.

In 2013, people complained directly to the Scottish Government about turbine developments of 50 megawatts and over on 2951 occasions.

However, even before 2014 has reached its end, the equivalent figure stands at 5942.

The statistics emerged following a parliamentary question by Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Murdo Fraser.

It also revealed that this year has already attracted the most objections to major windfarms in any year since 2010.

Windfarms of 50 MW and over are dealt with directly by the Scottish Government in Edinburgh, as they are deemed too significant for local authority planning departments.

However, the Scottish Government’s enthusiasm for windfarms has been laid bare by the fact that only 370 of the 5942 objections related to submissions that were ultimately rejected.

The Scottish Conservatives have consistently criticised the SNP’s desire to cover Scotland’s countryside in large wind turbines.

Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Murdo Fraser said:

“The fact these objections have doubled in the last year shows the sheer strength of feeling among the public.

“This isn’t people complaining about a single turbine in someone’s back garden.

“These are major developments that go straight to the Scottish Government because they are deemed too big for councils to consider.

“It’s clear from the rise that the SNP is continuing to invite major applications which may fit the Scottish Government’s own policy, but are completely unacceptable to the people who have to live beside them.

“Considering this steep increase, this is a chance for the new First Minister to rein in her predecessor’s obsession with wind turbines, and start listening to the views of rural Scotland.”

Notes to editors:
Below is a copy of the Parliamentary Question, published tomorrow on the Scottish Government website, from Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser:
5 December 2014               (Holding Reply Issued 24 November 2014)
Index Heading: Enterprise & Environment
Murdo Fraser (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party): To ask the Scottish Government  how many objections have been filed against applications to build wind farms with turbines greater than 50 mw in each of the last five years, and how many were upheld.
(S4W-23096)
Mr Fergus Ewing MSP:
The following table sets out the numbers of objections and support by calendar year:
 
Year
Public Objections
Objections relating to an application   subsequently refused
 
Public Support
2010
7764
0
1737
2011
1371
0
689
2012
5718
2814
1129
2013
2951
2631
2156
2014 (to date)
5942
370
1120
It is important to note in this context that of the applications determined during this period, a majority of the applications consented were subject to some sort of change before determination as a result of consultation responses received.
The Scottish Conservatives have repeatedly criticised the Scottish Government’s policy on windfarms:
http://www.scottishconservatives.com/2014/04/scotland-now-accounts-half-uk-windfarms/
http://www.scottishconservatives.com/2014/01/millions-trees-torn-make-way-windfarms/
http://www.scottishconservatives.com/2012/12/third-of-turbine-applications-overturned-by-wind-obsessed-snp/