Landowners ‘£1 Billion Wind Farm Boom’

  • Date: 24/02/13
  • Simon Johnson, The Sunday Telegraph

Scotland’s wealthiest private landowners are on course to earn around £1 billion in rental fees from wind farm companies, according to a book published yesterday by a senior Tory politician.

Struan Stevenson, a Conservative MEP, estimated the sum will be paid over the next eight years to at least a dozen landowners willing to allow turbines on their estates and farms.

He suggested the wealthiest Scots are benefiting from the spread of wind farms at the expense of consumers, who have to heavily subsidise the technology in their energy bills.

Among the landowners named in the book is the Duke of Roxburghe, who, he estimated, could earn £1.5 million a year from turbines erected in the Lammermuir Hills.

Titled So Much Wind – The Myth of Green Energy, the book also claims that the spread of wind farms is leading to a new wave of Clearances as families are forced to move away by the construction of industrial turbines.

It was published as MSPs debated Alex Salmond’s plan to generate the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by the end of the decade.

Mr Stevenson estimated that the target would require the construction of around 5,000 wind farms in Scotland of which around 1,900 have already been built.

“We’re seeing in Scotland the biggest transfer of money from the poor to the rich that we’ve ever seen in our history,” he told a press conference in Edinburgh.

“In parts of the Highlands now tourism is being effectively destroyed and people are leaving the Highlands because tourists no longer want to go there with the landscape bristling with wind factories and industrial wind turbines.

“It’s a catastrophic policy that could lead to the lights going out in Scotland and power cuts in the years ahead. It’s time this was exposed.”

His book argued that “money is the driver” behind landowners’ willingness to allow the construction of wind farms on their estates and farms.

“Rental payments vary and are top secret but it is estimated that a dozen or more of Scotland’s wealthiest private landowners will pocket around £1 billion in rental fees over the next eight years,” he wrote.

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