First green group attacks blight of giant wind farms
INDUSTRIAL-scale wind farms should not be allowed to ruin the Scottish countryside, according to one of the country’s most influential green pressure groups.
The Ramblers’ Association, which represents thousands of walkers, says giant wind power stations with turbines more than 300ft high should not be used to tackle climate change at the expense of the landscape.
The RA said it was speaking out as parliamentary candidates in this week’s general election were largely ignoring important environmental issues.
The Scottish Executive’s plans to encourage the construction of around 70 major wind farms, in a bid to meet ambitious targets on renewable energy, have provoked fierce opposition from local residents in most areas.
The RA said it was now calling on the next Westminster parliament to shift financial incentives away from large-scale, land-based wind turbines to smaller scale community based schemes that would meet local needs, while at the same time developing off-shore alternatives.
It said it was "deeply concerned" at the scale and extent of wind farm development in the countryside and was looking for radical changes to the incentives - the Renewables Obligation - which are being reviewed by the Department of Trade and Industry.
Citing wind power sites in the Lake District and on Lewis, the RA added: "This provides the financial support to industrial-scale wind farm projects, most now involving turbines over 100 metres in height, which threaten the British countryside."
Chief executive Nick Barrett, said:
"The climate change crisis will not be solved by constructing massive wind farms in the countryside. Wind energy policy should be based on small-scale, community-based turbines on land, with the massive, 100-metre plus turbines used only in off-shore developments.
"Otherwise we will soon see an industrialisation of our countryside on a scale never experienced before by these monster projects. "
The "desecration" of the countryside by giant turbines was potentially making a few landowners and multinational energy companies very rich, but doing little to address the real problem of climate change, Barrett concluded.
The RA is the first green group to come out publicly against giant wind farms. In Scotland, 60 large and small wind farm planning applications have already been approved and there are a further 138 schemes going through the planning pipeline.
The average number of turbines in a development is 35, with some now proposed at 140 metres in height. This is double the size of most of the current generation of turbines already in operation.
Electricity companies such as ScottishPower and Scottish and Southern Energy stand to make millions of pounds from each project over the next 25 years.
Last week, it emerged that public subsidies totalling 12bn will be needed to help the government meet its climate change targets.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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