2,500 wind farm applications made in past 18 months

MORE than 2,500 wind farm applications have been made to Scotland’s local authorities over the past 18 months, a survey of councils has ­revealed.

Tories say the wind farm surge has to stop. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Tories say the wind farm surge has to stop. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Tories say the wind farm surge has to stop. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Figures released under Freedom of Information legislation have disclosed that council staff have handled 2,508 applications in the past year and a half – the equivalent of seven a day.

The number of proposed wind farms has come to light amid mounting concern over First Minister Alex Salmond’s drive for green energy and the proliferation of turbines across Scotland.

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Anti-wind farm campaign group Scotland Against Spin has organised a march in Perth on Saturday to coincide with the SNP’s annual conference.

Replies to Freedom of Information requests made by the Scottish Conservatives found that Aberdeenshire had the highest amount of applications since March last year (428), followed by Highland (376) and Orkney (371).

Of the 32 ­local authorities, only South Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire failed to provide ­figures.

Conservative energy spokesman Murdo Fraser said: “Alex Salmond has played to the ­gallery on this one, but the figures show the rush of wind farm applications remains ­intense.

“These applications put council planning departments under immense strain, and cause great concern to communities worried about the impact a massive wind farm on their doorstep will have.

“And even if a council does reject an application, there is a good chance the turbine-hungry Scottish Government will overturn the ruling in ­pursuit of its own overly green ­policies.

“This surge has to stop. The way to do that is ending ludicrous subsidies for an unreliable and intermittent energy source.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Our policy on wind farm applications aims to strike an appropriate balance ­between Scotland’s massive green energy potential and the need to satisfactorily address the impacts on communities and the ­environment.”