The Scottish Government has been urged to change their rules on wind farms to stop developers running amok and flooding the country’s beautiful landscape with turbines.
Currently, developers can re-appeal to the government if the local authority rejects their application to build a new site.
The SNP have been criticised previously for overturning a number of rejections, dismaying local communities across the country.
However, the rules are different in England, with the local planning authority given the final say over new wind farm developments.
Now, protestors against turbines want the same rights for Scots as the difference in laws means that developers are “flooding” Scotland with applications.
Aileen Jackson, from protest group Scotland Against Spin, believes the Scottish Government are letting wind farm owners run roughshod over communities.
She told the Scottish Daily Express: “Ever since the government announced that they were reinstating subsidies for onshore wind all hell broke loose in Scotland.
“As a group, we have become absolutely inundated with people looking for help to submit objections to councils and asking what their rights were, and asking us to help them fight off these applications, with some areas getting three or four applications at a time.
“And this is because they the right to veto turbines applications in England so all the developers have come flooding into Scotland where it is easier to get planning permission.
“In England, the communities are protected, as for an application to be successful, it needs to pass the local authority’s test of complying with local development plans and all concerns raised by the local community must be addressed.
“Right now in Scotland, the local communities just get bypassed and some local authorities are getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of applications and if they don’t have time to assess them properly then they (the applicant) go to the government who usually push them through.”
Wind farm campaigners have already slammed SNP ministers for approving 13 applications and rejecting only six since the Covid lockdown in March 2020.
Of those approved, six had been initially rejected by local councils but were given the green light on appeal, while the rest were so large they went straight to ministers for a decision.
Protestors against the Mochrum Fell wind farm development have a hearing in March, and hope to persuade the government to reject the plans.
However, proposals for eight turbines had already been pushed through by the Scottish Government despite over 800 objections.
These sorts of situations would be avoided if the English planning legislation is adopted, and the Scotland Against Spin petition is currently being considered by ministers.
Ms Jackson hopes that at least some of the law is brought in, as they are also asking for professional help for locals to engage in the planning process and an independent advocate to ensure that local participants are not bullied and intimidated during public inquiries.
She said: “We’re not asking to stop all windfarm developments, we just want a greater say in the planning system.
“The Scottish Government are the ones who are advocating that the general public should take a greater part in the planning process so they need to listen to us on windfarm developments.
“At the moment wind farm applications seem to be treated differently from every other planning application, we have got to get to net zero and we’ll get there any way we can!
“Recently on Orkney, they allocated two different reporters to two wind farms on Orkney and both said that the development would have an absolutely devastating effect on the environment and should be refused.
“And the Scottish ministers ignored their recommendations and approved them, which is practically unheard of.
“It’s almost like the boundaries have changed now, and because of their desperation to meet wind farm targets they are even ignoring the recommendations of the reporter.”
Scottish Government have been approached for comment.