The Highlands and islands could soon be home to the same number of wind
turbines as in the whole of England, it has emerged.
Official figures show that there are 443 operational turbines in the
region, about 38% of the 1,164 that are up and running in England.
However, the addition of all the turbine schemes that are in the planning
process, approved or under construction would take the north figure to 1,157.
That is just seven short of the total number south of the border, although
the figure for England is expected to rise to 1,817 in coming years.
Throughout Scotland, there are 2,622 of the structures, more than double
the number in England.
However, the figures for Scotland could double again, as another 2,669 are
in planning, are consented or under construction.
Campaigner Linda Holt, of Scotland Against Spin, said: “Windfarm
development in Scotland is out of control.
“The last thing Scottish ministers want to know is how many turbines have
been imposed on the country. If they did, they would have to tell the
Scottish people and couldn’t blame Westminster as planning is devolved.”
Murdo Fraser, Scottish Conservative energy spokesman, said: “Wind energy
has a part to play in Scotland’s power mix, but the SNP’s single-minded
obsession with onshore wind is blanketing our countryside with turbines
producing inefficient, intermittent and expensive energy.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Surveys show there is strong public
support for onshore wind and the Scottish Government is ambitious for
Scotland’s tremendous green energy potential and its ability to transform
Joss Blamire, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “A recent
YouGov poll found that seven in 10 Scottish adults said they supported the
continued development of wind power as part of our energy mix.
“One fifth of Scotland is already off limits to windfarms, due to bans on
development in national parks and National Scenic Areas. Outside of these
areas planning applications go through a very rigorous assessment,
including judgment of potential cumulative impacts of multiple schemes.”