Millions of trees chopped down to make way for Scottish wind farms

January 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

The Scottish Conservatives, who obtained the figures under the Freedom of
Information Act, said they demonstrated the “wanton destruction” Mr
Salmond’s green energy targets are inflicting on the countryside.

The SNP administration has set a target of generating the equivalent of all
Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, with the majority
expected to come from onshore wind.

This has prompted a rapid spread of turbines across rural Scotland, with
research published last year finding there were almost as many turbines
north of the Border as in all the rest of the UK.

The Daily Telegraph disclosed how Scottish Government officials were exerting
unprecedented pressure on planning authorities to allow more wind farms even
in the face of fierce local opposition.

Murdo Fraser MSP, the Scottish Tory energy spokesman, said: “The SNP is so
blindly obsessed with renewable energy that it doesn’t mind destroying
another important environmental attribute to make way for it.

“It’s quite astonishing to see almost as many trees have been destroyed as
there are people in Scotland. The contribution of trees to our environment
has been well established through the ages.

“I’m still waiting to see compelling evidence of the contribution wind farms
make. If the Scottish Government cooled its ludicrous renewable energy
targets, we wouldn’t see this kind of wanton destruction and intrusion on
our landscape.”

Of the 6,202 acres of trees felled on Scotland’s national forest estate since
2007 to make way for wind farms, the figures said 1,957 acres (31.5 per
cent) have been replanted.

A further 3,467 acres (56 per cent) had deliberately been “left open for
environmental management”, while the remaining 778 acres (12.5 per cent) had
not been replanted despite not being designated to be left open.

The Scottish Government said the Tories claims “misrepresent the full picture”
as only the 778 acres were suitable for the planting of another rotation of

Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish Environment Minister, said: “To put it in real
context, in the same six year period, Forestry Commission Scotland has
supported over 31,400 hectares of new planting – that’s a staggering 62
million trees in the ground across Scotland.

“Scotland is also shouldering the vast majority of tree planting in Britain
with nearly two and a half times more tree planting in Scotland compared to
south of the Border.”

He said planning guidance had been tightened up to ensure tree felling is kept
to a minimum and replanting undertaken “where suitable”.

Meanwhile, figures compiled by anti-wind farm campaigners suggest the number
of turbines in the Scottish Borders is likely to increase beyond 600 in

Mark Rowley, chairman of Cranshaws, Ellemford and Longformacus community
council, has calculated there are 441 large-scale turbines in the area
already constructed or given planning permission. This includes 373 in

Planning applications for a further 185 have been submitted, while 47 were at
the appeal stage of the process. In addition, wind farm companies are
scoping and screening sites with the potential for a further 400 turbines.

Scottish Government officials have rejected complaints from individual
councils that they should be able to declare a moratorium on building more
wind farms because they have “done their share”.

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