Over 1000 turbines with planning consent in ’Shire

DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0

Over 2500 applications for windfarms were submitted to Scottish councils in the past 18 months, with 428 of them in Aberdeenshire.

The statistics came to light after a Freedom of Information request was sent to every Scots local authority by the Scottish Conservatives.

Aberdeenshire had the highest volume of applications of any council followed by Highland, with 376, and Orkney with 371.

A political adviser to Dr Nanette Milne MSP said: “The influx continues despite pledges from the SNP that it would cease its windfarm obsession and ensure areas of the country were protected from the threat of turbine development.

‘‘Local authorities across the country have already voiced their annoyance at the sheer number of submissions which arrive from major energy firms.”

Dr Milne added: “Alex Salmond has played to the gallery on this one, but the figures show the rush of windfarm applications remains intense.

‘‘Even if a council does reject an application, there is a good chance the turbine-hungry Scottish Government will overturn the ruling in pursuit of its own overly green policies.”

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services, Cllr Peter Argyle, said: “We have over 1000 turbines (not farms) with planning consent in Aberdeenshire.

‘‘Applications are being lodged at a rate of 20 to 30 a month, slower than a year ago but still significant.

“Our planners have coped well, particularly since we established a specialist wind turbine team.

“Not all appeals are upheld but the SNP government has nailed its colours very firmly to the mast, most recently with the First Minister’s target for 50% of Scotland’s electricity to be generated by renewables by 2015.”

SNP MSP for Aberdeenshire West, Dennis Robertson, said: “The Scottish Government has already provided Aberdeenshire Council with a grant of £75,000 earlier this year to assist with the large volume of planning bids.

“I’m unsure where Dr Milne has founded her accusation that the Government would overturn a decision by a planning authority.

‘‘In the majority of cases, Scottish ministers have sided with the planning authority’s decision.”