Simon Johnson — Scottish Political Editor — The Telegraph — November 24, 2012
A Holyrood inquiry into Alex Salmond’s wind energy targets has been dismissed as an “unbelievable whitewash” after it refused to accept the rapid spread of turbines is damaging the countryside.
The SNP-dominated economy, energy and tourism committee instead blamed local councils for snarling up wind farm applications in the planning system and called for the rules to be loosened to allow larger developments.
In a coded warning to local authorities concerned they have reached saturation point for turbines, they said Mr Salmond’s ambitious green energy targets “should translate into delivery at local level”.
They claimed to have found no “significant evidence” that turbines are damaging Scotland’s tourism industry or that independence was creating uncertainty for renewables investors.
This was despite Visit Scotland, the national tourism agency, admitting the sight of wind farms could harm the industry and SSE, formerly Scottish and Southern Energy, stating that the prospect of separation was affecting its spending plans.
Although the committee’s 83-page report outlined the views of opponents and sceptics, none were deemed to be so significant as to prevent the delivery of Mr Salmond’s ambitious green energy targets.
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