Jeanette Thomson of Binn Eco Park (Courier, 12.1.16) complains that it is unfair that their proposed wind farm has missed the deadline for subsidy. Doubtless every business would like to receive a 25-year guarantee forcing customers to pay double the market price for their product, which is what onshore wind generators have been enjoying until the Conservatives promised to end subsidies.
But all good things come to an end, particularly when wind speculators have been grabbing these over-generous subsidies at such a rate that electricity prices are rocketing, our whole energy system has become unbalanced and security of supply is now on a knife’s edge. Binn Eco Park were johnny-come-latelys to the wind free-for-all, for which they have no one to blame but themselves.
Ms Thomson also says the loss of subsidy for Binn Eco Park goes against the spirit of the Conservative Party’s manifesto which promised to give local people the final say on onshore wind applications. This is puzzling on a number of counts.
First, the local democracy introduced by the Westminster government applied to onshore wind planning, not subsidies. Nor does it extend to Scotland since planning is devolved. Shamefully the Scottish Government has rejected all calls from rural residents, environmental groups, community councils and local authorities to give the same planning rights to its citizens.
Second, a majority of local people did not want the Binn wind farm and Perth and Kinross planning officers assessed the proposal as unacceptable.
The councillors on the P&K planning committee ignored both their officer’s recommendation and the views of objectors when they approved the application. A number of councillors had received guided tours of the Binn facility and plainly knew the proprietors. This may be why Ms Thomson thinks the wind farm now deserves special subsidy, but I hope Ms Rudd will be more critical and consistent than the P&K councillors who nodded through this opportunistic application.