Sturgeon accused of “dismissing” anti-windfarm campaigner

Lyndsey Ward

A Highland woman has been left fuming after Nicola Sturgeon “dismissed” residents’ concerns about massive windfarm developments.

Lyndsey Ward wrote to the First Minister four months ago about her “wrong-headed” policy on turbines – but has yet to receive a response.

The Scottish Government blamed the snub on an “administrative error” and insisted it has a “robust” planning process for windfarm developments.

But Ms Ward said she had been left “angry and frustrated” by the First Minister’s failure to engage with local communities on the issue.

The Beauly resident said while Ms Sturgeon was willing to take account of public opinion when dealing with fracking, she “continues to parrot … propaganda” when it comes to windfarms.

Ms Ward said: “I – along with other campaigners fighting to protect communities and the environment from ruthless multinational wind developers – am increasingly angry and frustrated at the dismissal to us shown by the SNP, both in Holyrood and Westminster.

“They continue to parrot the wind industry propaganda and their own citizens’ concerns are not even on their radar.

“We have asked time and time again, as have several local authorities, for a moratorium on wind and it has been refused.”

Ms Ward claimed “hundreds of thousands” of acres of rural Scotland had been “affected by onshore wind”, despite community objections.

And she accused the First Minister of hypocrisy after the SNP leader suggested it was the “right thing” to “take account of public opinion” on fracking – but has not extended the same principle to windfarms.

A Scottish Government spokesman said it was “regrettable” that Ms Ward had not received a response due to an “administrative error” – and that a “substantive” reply would be issued “as soon as possible”.

He added: “Scotland has a robust planning policy for wind farms set out in an updated Scottish Planning Policy, published in 2014, which requires that planning authorities should take into account the views of local communities when making decisions on wind farm applications and which also provided increased protection for landscapes within National Scenic Areas and Scotland’s National Parks.

“There is no intention to change policy at this time.

“The wider planning system, including community engagement in plans and decisions, has been subject to review – the outcomes of which are being considered by Scottish Ministers.”