Government pledge to windfarm campaigners

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing

The Scottish Government last night promised to contact activists who want a “summit for communities” to openly debate windfarms with Energy Minister Fergus Ewing.

Campaign group Scotland Against Spin (SAS) heads a list of almost 40 organisations angry that he recently hosted an event in Glasgow for 200 pro-windfarm delegates.

That conference addressed industry complaints about the UK Government’s decision to scrap public subsidies for developers with the hope of shaping Scottish Government policy in future talks with new UK energy minister Amber Rudd.

It prompted windfarm objectors to send Mr Ewing an “open letter” demanding parity.

SAS spokesman Graham Lang said: “When the Scottish cabinet visited Cupar, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon publicly promised a similar summit for communities on this issue, and it’s high time she and her ministers stuck to their word.

“Amber Rudd’s recent announcements signify a sea-change in wind energy policy. It’s only fair that the Scottish Government should hear from everyone affected, not just those who make their living developing windfarms.”

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Ms Sturgeon has condemned the demise of turbine subsidies.

Critics of the technology claim it is economic nonsense, ugly on the landscape and threatening to wreck Scotland’s lifeline tourism industry.

Leading Highland anti-windfarm campaigner Lyndsey Ward said: “I hope this bid is successful and Fergus Ewing will finally listen to communities. He hasn’t in the past, nor have other SNP politicians, who blindly support the wind industry.

“As one, they speak for an over subsidised sector, using the developers’ own data, to the detriment of their own constituents.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “We’re always ready to listen to a broad range of views. We will contact Scotland Against Spin shortly to engage with community and campaign groups.

“We’ve made it clear that windfarms can only be built in the right places.”

He added: “Scottish planning policy strikes a careful balance between utilising Scotland’s significant renewable energy resources whilst protecting our finest scenic landscapes, natural heritage and residential amenity.”

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