Scotland’s countryside will become a “wind farm landscape” as hundreds more turbines are built to meet the SNP’s radical green energy targets, the country’s most senior planning officials have warned.
In an extraordinary intervention, Heads of Planning Scotland (HoPS) has told MSPs that 10 per cent of Ayrshire, for example, has already been made available for development to renewable power companies.
With “less sensitive sites” reaching saturation point, they predicted public opposition will increase as more planning applications are made to build wind farms on “familiar” and fragile landscapes.
“The cumulative effects of additional wind farms will change an otherwise unaltered local landscape into a ‘wind farm’ landscape,” they concluded.
In its submission to the Holyrood inquiry, Scottish National Heritage (SNH) warned the proposals cannot be achieved without “significant effect” on the country’s natural environment and protection for species like the golden eagle.
Should all the pending planning applications be approved, it said the effect would be to “considerably extend” the visibility of wind farms across Scotland’s countryside by narrowing the “gaps” between separate developments.
The analysis by SNH and senior council planners, who are responsible for handling the majority of applications, provides the most comprehensive insight yet into the impact of SNP’s plan for a green energy revolution.