MP backs wind farm limits

Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell is backing calls by Scotland’s planning bosses for limits to be set on wind farms.

Heads of Planning Scotland (HoPS) said the Scottish government’s new planning guidelines should for the first time specify the country’s “future turbine requirements”.

This would help local authorities decide whether applications for wind farms are “reasonable”.

Mr Mundell said the proposal would effectively act as a limit on the total number of turbines amid widespread concern about their rapid spread across Scotland’s countryside.

Although ministers have now promised to protect “wild land”, a number of rural local authorities, including Dumfries and Galloway, have said the definition of this is too narrow and excludes many of their areas of natural beauty.

And Scottish Borders Council has warned that turbines have become taller since planning policies were drawn up and “there is now a real prospect of wind-farm dominated landscapes being created over wide areas”.

Scottish Borders Council is calling for the 2.5km minimum distance to be increased in light of wind farm companies erecting taller turbines, which, it said, are now typically more than 120m (394ft) high.

The comments were made in submissions to a Scottish government consultation on new planning guidelines.

HoPS has previously warned Scotland’s countryside is in danger of becoming a “wind farm landscape” as hundreds more turbines are erected.

Mr Mundell said: “My views on the subject are well known. Enough is enough. In my constituency we are already struggling to cope with the huge number of wind farms already built, never mind projects in the pipeline.

“The SNP cannot keep on encouraging or approving new wind farms without giving much clearer guidelines to councils, as well as taking on board the views of local people. In my constituency it is hard to find a hill without a wind turbine – so I have every sympathy with residents trying to block plans.

“We are lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country, and it is absolutely right that people should have their say on what happens to our countryside. My constituency already includes some of the UK’s largest wind farms, and people have simply had enough,” he added.