Borders gets a wind farm application ‘every week’

Wind turbines are an increasingly familiar feature of the Berwickshire landscape
Wind turbines are an increasingly familiar feature of the Berwickshire landscape

Borders protestors are travelling to Perth this weekend to join one of the biggest mass demonstrations against wind farms ever seen in Scotland.

It follows the publication of statistics which reveal that Scottish Borders Council is currently receiving one planning application a week for a new wind farm.

According to the Scottish Conservatives, SBC statistics show that over the last 18 months plans have been received for 77 new wind farms in the region.

Residents concerned about the impact on the countryside believe a show of strength is vital to halt the spread of turbines to meet the Scottish Government’s renewable energy targets.

A number of local anti-wind farm groups in the region have joined forces to create a Borders-wide network.

A spokesperson for the group said: “The Borders produces more than nine times the amount of electricity from wind turbines than its homes use, yet the millions of pounds in subsidies paid to wind farm developers – which all consumers pay through their electricity bills – have done nothing to alleviate the problem of the 37% of Borders households, and 61% of local pensioners, classed as living in fuel poverty (ie spending at least 10% of their income on heating).

“In Scottish Borders Council’s recent household survey, the proliferation of wind farms was the one issue that was constantly cited as being a concern with one out of four people in Berwickshire saying that there are already too many wind farms and that they are ruining the landscape.

“Anyone who cares about the countryside and wants to stop the indiscriminate siting of wind farms is welcome to join the march. Meet at South Inch car park in Perth at 12.30pm ready to march to the conference centre at 1pm prompt.”

Roxburgh, Ettrick and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont is critical of the SNP’s drive for as many windfarms as possible to meet energy targets which aim to have 100% renewable energy by 2020.

He said: “Many communities in the Borders know first-hand about the problems we’ve experienced with industrial windfarms in our region.

“This has seen floods of applications made to the council’s planning department, and these statistics show that they’re having to deal with more than one every week. This takes up a lot of time of planning officials, but also costs the council a lot of money to deal with.”

Campaign group Scotland Against Spin has applied for permission to march through Perth on Saturday before gathering for a mass protest outside the concert hall, where the SNP is holding its annual conference.