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SNP hypocrisy on windfarms revealed ahead of statement

22 Jun 2015

Murdo Fraser MSP

The SNP has been accused of “extraordinary hypocrisy” after it emerged energy minister Fergus Ewing campaigned hard against windfarms in his own constituency.

It is expected the Scottish Government will make a statement to Holyrood tomorrow criticising the UK Government’s decision to end onshore wind subsidies.

However, it has now emerged that – when in opposition – Mr Ewing objected to windfarm development in 2007 in his Inverness and Nairn constituency.

He said at the time: “The SNP believes that many other forms of renewable energy are the future – not unconstrained windfarms.

“Windfarms have … a very heavy environmental footprint not only blotting the landscape in places such as Dava which has huge beauty and Lochindorb which is of considerable historic interest but also in the release of substantial quantities of methane from peat landscapes.”

The Scottish Conservatives have pointed out it is unlikely Mr Ewing will adopt a similar tone tomorrow, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon having already described the end to subsidy as “wrong-headed, perverse and downright outrageous”.

Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Murdo Fraser said:

“The SNP is guilty of the most extraordinary hypocrisy on the issue of wind subsidies.

“On the one hand we have both Nicola Sturgeon and Fergus Ewing using the most extreme language to condemn the decision by the UK Government to end wind subsidies, a decision which follows on a clear manifesto commitment, and one which has been warmly welcomed by communities across Scotland.

“Yet the same Fergus Ewing was, back in 2007, taking exactly the same stance as the Scottish Conservatives are today on wind development, and objecting to projects within his own constituency.

“The Fergus Ewing of 2007 would no doubt have enthusiastically supported moves to cut wind power subsidies, as the Conservatives are now doing.

“We can only speculate why, in the transmission from opposition to government, he has had such a miraculous change in view.

“Communities across Scotland will draw a contrast in a Conservative party which, in opposition, promises to act against the overdevelopment of onshore wind power and in government delivers on its promises, and an SNP energy minister who in opposition says one thing, but in government does precisely the opposite.”

Notes to editors:

To see Fergus Ewing’s full quotes from 2007, visit:

http://www.strathspey-herald.co.uk/News/Anger-mounts-over-new-wind-farm-threat-917.htm