Councils told to clear land for windfarms

Local authorities across Scotland, including Dumfries and Galloway, have been told to open up more land for windfarm developments to help the SNP meet its 100 per cent renewable energy targets.

In a letter from Local Government Minister Derek McKay and Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, local councils have been told to create “Spatial Frameworks” when planning for wind turbines.

This would provide windfarm companies with a list of sites across the country they can target for preferred development.

The move comes amid concerns that councils are being inundated by windfarm planning applications across Scotland.

In the letter, the SNP said they would be providing around £300,000 of funding to help under-pressure council planning departments cope with the predicted deluge of applications.

It is understood that cash may not be required by all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, but will still not be anything like enough to cover additional costs incurred across the country.

Two councils have already called for a moratorium on windfarm applications, pointing out that planning bosses are unable to cope with the sheer scale of them.

Scottish Conservative Energy Spokeswoman Mary Scanlon MSP said: “This is sending out an open invitation to windfarm companies across the world to submit their applications in Scotland, and that is something that will worry many local communities.

“All over the country, groups have been established to fight these developments, showing the acute concern felt by so many people. Council planning departments are already under severe pressure to deal with these applications.

“Even the local authorities who do have preferred areas of development are receiving speculative applications en masse for places they have stated are not suitable for windfarm development.

“Releasing £300,000 may help some departments to a point, but it won’t be enough given the sheer volume of applications.

“The SNP is fuelling this rise, and ordering councils across Scotland to get on-message with them will do nothing to help that situation.”