Clark Cross: Wind farm programme does not have proper authority

An off-shore wind farm. Picture: Getty

An off-shore wind farm. Picture: Getty

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ALL those who oppose the relentless march of Triffid turbines and the accompanying pylons across our beautiful landscapes owe a debt of gratitude to Pat Swords, a chemical engineer who took on the EU and won.

Mr Swords asked the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to investigate the failure of the European Commission to properly implement its renewable energy programme in accordance with the Aarhus Convention, which requires access to information; public participation in decision-making; access to justice in environmental matters; and a demonstration that the EC had not met these requirements.

This hugely important decision in favour of Mr Swords means that the renewable energy programme, as it stands, is proceeding without “proper authority”.

All UK planning authorities, including Scottish ministers, must comply with the legislation incorporated in the Aarhus Convention.

This ruling will help all those who disagree with the mad dash for wind and the extra costs to the consumer.

The Scottish Government’s dictatorial attitude was shown recently when it ordered councils to identify land where turbines can be located.

All local authorities are required to complete an environmental assessment of the project when considering wind turbine applications – not the developer, as currently happens.

Therefore the emissions savings, fuel savings and climate change benefits which would justify the approval of wind turbines planning consent should be transparent, credible, realistic and readily available to the public.

The UK is the only country in the world to have agreed to legally binding CO2 reduction targets. Our First Minister frequently boasts that Scotland has “the best CO2 reduction targets in the world”.

The Scottish Government have frequently overturned local democracy by granting planning permission.

Did they carry out the checks required by the Aarhus Convention? I doubt it.

Those who are willing to fight to save our landscapes should e-mail me at clark
cross@inchmuir.freeserve.co.uk.

• Clark Cross is a retired chartered accountant and wind farm campaigner

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