By Gareth McPherson
Wind farms rejected by councils in Tayside and Fife have been waved through
13 times by ministers in Edinburgh.
Analysis of planning data by The Courier shows eight refused applications
for turbine developments in Tayside and five in Fife have been successful
on appeal since 2003.
The trend for overturning local decisions is revealed following outrage
last month at the Scottish Government’s approval of the controversial
Greenscares scheme near Braco in Perthshire.
Gleneagles hotel management and the head of an estate used in TV show
Outlander were among the hundreds of complainants who helped secure Perth &
Kinross Council’s rejection of the nine-turbine Strathallan Wind Farm
project in 2017.
An SNP councillor said he was “appalled” by the Scottish Government to
overrule that decision in January.
Wind farms allowed on appeal in Tayside and Fife [sorry, I cannot access
the graphic – G]
Bill Bowman, the Tory MSP, said the SNP administration routinely
substitutes its own decisions for those made by local government.
The North East politician said it is important Scotland meets its power
needs, including in onshore wind, but added that “can’t be at the expense
of local democracy”.
“What is the point in preparing reports, visiting sites and having members
of the public stand for their communities, only for the SNP to ride
roughshod over every decision?” he said.
“Overruling a council should only be done in extremis, not as a matter of
course. But we are well used to that under Nicola Sturgeon’s Government.”
As well as the 13 successful appeals for wind farms of two or more
turbines, 16 local decisions for single turbines have been overturned in
Courier Country, according to figures from the Scottish Government’s
Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA).
Among the schemes given the green light on appeal were Green Burn Wind Farm
in Bridge of Cally last year and Kenly Farms in Kingsbarns in 2017.
Mark Ruskell, for the Scottish Greens, said Scotland must make use of wind
in the face of the “biggest threat facing humanity” climate change.
“It important that infrastructure is built in the right place, ensuring
that communities aren’t unnecessarily burdened, and the planning system has
an important role to play in determining this,” the Fife MSP.
He said ministers should not be able to call in projects “at a whim”, but
said it is sometimes necessary.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Scottish ministers are committed to
seeing the right developments in the right place.
“Since May 2007 more than half the appeals related to wind farms
developments have been refused.”