MSP presses MOD over Uist wind turbines

Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan, has written to the Ministry of Defence to press them over concerns that have been raised by a number of constituents in Uist over MoD interference when applying for planning permission for the erection of community wind turbines.

Alasdair Allan commented: “The Ministry of Defence appear to have adopted a practice of objecting to all planning applications for wind turbines in Uist and, in effect, have put the onus on the developer to demonstrate that the proposed turbine will not interfere with military equipment, rather than only place an objection where there is genuinely believed to be a specific risk to defence operations.

“There is some evidence that this practice has persisted for some time, but that the MoD are now not prepared to enter into any dialogue whatsoever with the developer. Doing so, previously, gave the impression of judging each application on individual merit and at least gave some prospect of an objection being withdrawn.

“Many such applications are currently awaiting an outcome, with developers aware that an objection has been lodged, but still awaiting a final decision from the Comhairle. Aside from concerns over the principle, a pertinent factor would be whether a Local Authority has the resources to fully investigate the merit of such objections.

“As this issue impacts on a significant number of “live” applications for wind turbines and has enormous implications for the future of renewable energy in my constituency and potentially elsewhere I have contacted the Ministry of Defence to raise these issues, as well as Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy in the Scottish Government, to make him aware of these concerns.”