Galloway MP Russell Brown has accused the Scottish govern- ment of being “in denial” about problems with the number of windfarms in this area after handing over a petition signed by 2000 objectors to the Energy Minister.
The Labour MP said he was “deeply disappointed and frustrated” after a meeting with Holyrood Energy Minister Fergus Ewing on Wednesday. During the meeting Mr Ewing insisted he did not consider the number of turbines in Dumfries and Galloway was a problem, despite around 1000 turbines being in the planning or scoping stage.
During the past six weeks 2000 local people expressed frustration at the Scottish government’s recent decisions to approve two windfarm developments that had been rejected by Dumfries and Galloway Council – one at Carscreugh Fell near Glenluce in March and Glenchamber at the end of July. Mr Brown says the Scottish government’s decision to ignore local people is making it harder for supporters of wind energy.
The MP added: “With 2000 signatures, my petition clearly has the Scottish government rattled. During our meeting I left the minister in no doubt about the scale of the concern in Dumfries and Galloway about the number of wind turbines in our area. However, I was deeply disappointed and frustrated that the minister is in denial and still does not accept there is a problem. Once again the SNP believes it knows best and local people in Dumfries and Galloway are simply ignored.
“Instead of belittling the views of local people, the minister needs to understand that by forcing more wind turbines on our region the SNP is turning previous supporters of wind energy against it. He couldn’t explain why the government overturned decisions by the council to reject applications for windfarms like Glenchamber, where both local council officers and councillors said it shouldn’t go ahead because of the adverse impact on our landscape. Instead he tried to pass the buck and say he wasn’t to blame. As the Scottish Energy Minister, he has to take responsibility for the government’s policies and the affect they are having on our area.
“The minister promised to consider the petition and I will follow it up. Local people have spoken loud and clear. I am going to fight tooth and nail to make sure the SNP government doesn’t brush our concerns under the carpet as always.”
A Scottish government spokesperson said: “The record shows that across the country planning authorities continue to support the vast majority of Scottish government decisions on major windfarms. When developers choose to appeal decisions taken by planning authorities on smaller developments, in the great majority (around two-thirds) of cases the decisions of planning authorities have been upheld by the independent reporter appointed by Scottish Ministers.
“The Scottish Parliament recently backed the government’s renewable energy ambitions. Renewable energy is creating opportunities for communities across Scotland. The sector has already delivered 11,000 Scottish jobs, with many more in the pipeline. Grid improvements will create many more jobs and opportunities, including in southern Scotland.”
Meanwhile, people in the Car- sphairn area are being invited to two exhibitions of proposals for a 36-turbine windfarm on a site due east of the village.