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Full Report: Onshore wind farm subsidies to be reduced

Anti wind farm campaigners in Cumbria and Southern Scotland have welcomed the Government's announcement that subsidies to onshore wind farms will be reduced.

They say the change will dramatically cut the number being built in the region.

I**nstead more money is going to be spent subsidising off shore wind farms.

Environmental campaigners like Friends of the Earth say the change merely reflects how wind power has become more affordable, reducing the need for the government incentives.

Samantha Parker reports:

Windfarm petition handed to Holyrood

A windfarm petition with over 2000 signatures was handed into the Scottish Government today by Dumfries and Galloway MP, Russell Brown

The Scottish Government recently approved two windfarm developments in the region that had been rejected by the council. Mr Brown told the Energy Minister Fergus Ewing that local views were being ignored: he said:

"We hope that he will look at some kind of study into the area in terms of the impacts on the environment and the impacts on communities and on tourism which is so vital to the Dumfries and Galloway area and that is recognised by so many and also will he come and have a look.

"I am not going to force the Minister to come and get into a room with 200 or 300 angry people I just want them to come and see what we are experiencing in Dumfries and Galloway"

– Russell Brown MP

In response a Scottish Government Spokesperson said:

"The record shows that across the country Planning Authorities continue to support the vast majority of Scottish Government decisions on major wind farm. When developers choose to appeal decisions taken by Planning Authorities on smaller developments, in the great majority (around two thirds) of cases the decisions of planning authorities have been upheld by the independent reporter appointed by Scottish Ministers.

"Recently the Scottish Parliament unanimously backed the Scottish Government's renewable energy ambitions for Scotland. Renewable energy is already creating opportunities for communities across Scotland - the sector has already delivered 11,000 Scottish jobs, with many more in the pipeline. Grid improvements over the next three years will create many more jobs and opportunities, including many in Southern Scotland."

– Scottish Government spokesperson

Windfarm petition handed over

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown is taking a windfarm petition with over 2,000 signatures to the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Brown will meet the Scottish Government's Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, this afternoon.

The MP said the local response to the petition had been 'phenomenal. '

Speaking ahead of the meeting he said;

"It has really struck a chord with local people who are fed up of the Scottish Government ignoring local opinions. This year alone the local council has rejected two wind farm applications, only for the Government to wade in and force them on us anyway. This is a disgraceful way for the SNP in Edinburgh to treat local people in our region.

“I am pleased that the Energy Minister has agreed to meet with me to receive the petition. I will make the scale of local people’s anger clear to him. Local people are really worried that our beautiful landscape is being spoilt by too many wind turbines. Wind has an important part to play in a balanced energy policy, but even many supporters of wind energy are up in arms about the fact the Government is forcing Dumfries and Galloway to take an unfair share of turbines.

“So many people have joined this campaign that the Government will have to take our views seriously. I am looking forward to my discussion with the Minister and I will also invite him again to visit our area to see the problem first hand.”

– Russell Brown MP

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