Speyside councillor hits out at ‘undemocratic’ windfarm overturn

Derek Ross – undemocratic decision was against the will of local people

THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT decision to reverse a Moray Council planning refusal for extending the Hill of Towie windfarm has produced a furious reaction from a local councillor.

A long running saga ended this week when Scottish ministers decided to overturn the decision of the Moray Council planning and regulatory services committee, allowing the windfarm to expand from 21 turbines to 37.

Independent Speyside Glenlivet councillor Derek Ross hit out at the decision, calling it ‘undemocratic and completely against the will of local people”.

Councillor Ross insisted that in spite of his past role in opposing the Brown Muir Windfarm he was not entirely against all windfarms – but hit out at the Scottish Government policy to steamroller local communities into accepting something the clearly did not want.

Councillors had previously rejected the planning bid because of the ‘cumulative effect’ the development would have in the area, adding that local MSP Richard Lochhead needed to be reminded that you cannot have giant turbines without giant pylons.

“I am frankly amazed at the hypocrisy demonstrated by our local MSP in particular, who on the one hand campaigns against electricity power lines blotting the Moray and Speyside landscape, but is quite happy to remain silent when his own Holyrood colleagues run a bulldozer through local democratic choices on these 400-feet high wind turbines,” Councillor Ross said.

He added: “What is the point in local councillors gathering the views of their constituents, debating the rights or wrongs of specific applications – in the sure knowledge that because of this crazy Scottish Government policy, their work will be overturned purely as a matter of political expediency.”

Councillor Ross questioned the need for further expansion in wind energy in Moray, saying: “We are being told constantly how Scotland is almost producing enough wind power to make us self-sufficient – but we still go on building more and more against the will of those who live with them, perhaps other than the few landowners who are making a great deal of money out of the deal.

“This Scottish Government decision is quite simply undemocratic – ultimately, politicians are answerable to the people and on this issue they have many, many questions to answer.”