Published: 18/01/2012 10:37 - Updated: 18/01/2012 10:39

Energy minister quizzed over local opinion on wind-farm applications

mary scanlon
Highlands and Islands MSP Mary Scanlon claims communities are worried wind-farm applications may be given the go-ahead to meet the Government’s ‘ambitious’ energy targets.

THE Scottish Conservative spokesperson for energy has been assured local concerns will be listened to and not all wind farms will be approved in order to meet energy targets.

North MSP Mary Scanlon took the opportunity to quiz energy minister Fergus Ewing during question time last week at the Scottish Parliament.

“The minister stated that he agreed each application should be viewed on its individual merits and the opinions of local people and councillors should play an important role in decision making, but there are still many concerns being raised with me throughout the Highlands and Islands,” she said.

“The SNP have a stated ambition of 100 per cent of our energy coming from renewables by 2020 and to meet that target they are going to have to approve more wind-farm applications.

“This continues to cause great concern in local communities where they feel applications, which previously may have been rejected by the Scottish Government due to their unsuitability, will now go-ahead to meet this ambitious target.”

Mrs Scanlon hopes in future opinions of local people will feature heavily when applications are sent to the Scottish Government to ensure the views of locals are taken seriously and not brushed aside.

“In his response the minister said the Scottish Government take regard of all representations made,” she said. “It will be important as we go forward that his promise is kept to ensure that new wind farms are appropriately sited.”

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