SNP accused of being “on the side” of wind farm developers

Scottish Secretary David Mundell

Scottish Secretary David Mundell accused the SNP of siding with developers as he defended the UK Government’s decision to put an early end to subsidies for onshore windfarms.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has announced it is closing the renewables obligation (RO) for onshore wind from April next year, a move the industry claims could cost £3billion of investment and 5,500 jobs.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and others in the Scottish Government have spoken out against the plan to end the subsidy payments a year ahead of schedule.

But Mr Mundell said during Scottish questions in the Commons yesterday: “I have repeatedly made clear my support for this policy.

“I believe it is the right thing to do. It is clear in Scotland that the UK Government are on the side of local communities, but the SNP is on the side of developers.”

Former Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael quoted Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, who said the decision was “bad for jobs, bad for investment and can only hinder Scotland and the UK’s efforts to meet binding climate change targets”.

The Orkney and Shetland MP, who has been appointed to the Commons energy and climate change committee, asked: “Why do you think you know better than him?”

Mr Mundell said he certainly knew better than the Liberal Democrats who had been “complicit” in covering Scotland with wind farm developments.

Afterwards, Mr Carmichael, Scotland’s only Lib Dem MP, warned the Tories must start listening on green energy policy or risk doing “lasting damage” to the development of the renewable energy industry.

He said: “As on so many matters, the government shows no inclination to listen to those who know what they are talking about when it comes to energy policy.”

Last week, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing chaired an emergency summit with representatives from the green energy sector in light of the UK Government’s decision.

Campaigners condemned the meeting and accused the Scottish Government of being obsessed with lining the pockets of foreign windfarm developers.