Community groups demand their own summit with the Scottish Government about changes to UK wind energy policy
In an open letter to Fergus Ewing, scores of community groups have called on the Energy Minister to hold a summit for communities, businesses and NGOs adversely affected by wind farms which welcome the UK Government’s changes to subsidies and planning for wind energy.
The call follows an emergency summit the Energy Minister convened in response to complaints from the renewables industry in Glasgow last month. Over 200 representatives from 130 businesses gave Mr Ewing their responses to the UK Government’s scrapping of the renewable obligation so they could inform his ongoing discussions with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd.
Graham Lang of Scotland Against Spin, a national alliance set up in 2012 to campaign for reform of wind policy which organised the letter to Mr Ewing said:
‘When her cabinet visited Cupar, Nicola Sturgeon publicly promised a similar summit for communities on this issue, and it’s high time she and her ministers stuck to her word.
Amber Rudd’s recent announcements signify a sea-change in wind energy policy, and it’s only right and fair that the Scottish Government should hear from everyone affected, not just those who make their living developing wind farms.
The renewables industry in Scotland has long had the ear of government at Holyrood, and the Scottish Government has often echoed the pronouncements of the industry’s trade and lobbying organisation Scottish Renewables.
In her letter to David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon condemned his cutbacks to wind subsidy as anti-business, but they are only anti-business if your business is wind farm development. The Scottish Government needs to hear from a much broader group of stakeholders in the rural economy who have first-hand experience of how wind development damages tourism and blights economic development.
The First Minister suggested to David Cameron that his cutbacks were responding to wind farm opposition in England while Scotland was happier with wind farms. That’s just not true. With over two-thirds of the UK’s wind turbines, there is now hardly a community in Scotland where a decisive ?majority is not opposed to further wind development.
Our government can’t just be a mouthpiece for the wind industry when it deals with Westminster. It has to speak for all of Scotland.’
The letter has been signed by scores of local conservation groups as well as the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, the Scottish Wild Lands Group and the Scottish Campaign for National Parks.
View open letter: SAS-Open Letter to Fergus Ewing MSP-03 – 08 – 15 (PDF)