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Call for automatic public inquiries into wind farms opposed by SNH

Words: Roger Milne

The Scottish Government has been challenged by six national organisations to change its policy on assessing major wind farm developments.

The bodies want an automatic public inquiry whenever wind projects are opposed by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the administration’s statutory wildlife and nature adviser.

An open letter backed by the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, the Munro Society, the National Trust for Scotland, Ramblers Scotland and the Scottish Wild Land Group has been sent to the government.

The letter said: “Few people dispute the necessity of first reducing our energy use, and then substituting the use of fossil fuels with renewable energy alternatives, to help address the challenge of climate change.

“However, there is public disquiet about proliferation of energy developments in Scotland’s wild land areas.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our policy on wind farm applications aims to strike the right balance between Scotland’s massive green energy potential and the need to protect some of the country’s most scenic and wild areas.

“That has resulted in a ban on wind farm development in areas covering almost a fifth of the landmass of Scotland.

“Scottish ministers very carefully consider all of the issues raised and all submissions made before coming to a decision on applications.”