Scots Tory MEP described wind farm developments as “the renewable rape of Scotland” at a public meeting in Ballantrae last week.
Struan Stevenson said he believed this was an accurate description and warned landowners not to be sucked in by “the slick salesman who guarantee you tens of thousands of pounds for the next twenty years.”
Mr Stevenson was one of eight speakers at the Communities Against Turbines Scotland public meeting held in Ballantrae Community Centre, attended by more than 100 people.
Speakers also included Dr Mhairi McKenna, Martin Mathews, Chic Brodie MSP, Stuart Young, Graeme Pearson MSP. George Watson and Nic Coombey.
Justifying his strong description of wind farm developments, Mr Stevenson said: “Chambers Dictionary defines the word rape as meaning violation, despoiling or abuse.
“I have chosen this evocative word as the title of my presentation this evening, not as an emotive gesture or cheap jibe against the renewable energy sector, but as an accurate description of the scandal of industrial wind development in our nation today.
“Wind turbines violate the principle of fairness by transferring vast amounts of money from the poor to the rich. They despoil our unique landscape and environment and, through noise, the flicker-effect and vibration, they abuse the health and welfare and animals which have to live near them.”
Former southern Carrick councillor Mr Stevenson is a long-time campaigner against the environmental, financial and social impacts of wind developments.
In his speech, he said: “Renewable energy is important but windfarms are simply not financially or environmentally credible.
“Scotland has some of the most beautiful and iconic landscapes anywhere in the world and yet, as a nation, we’re allowing wind developments to destroy one of our strongest assets. As planning permission is granted for yet more industrial windfarm developments across Scotland, the effect of digging up peat bogs and felling millions of trees to make way for them is having a carbon negative impact. Peatland and wetland ecosystems and forestry store, on average, ten times more carbon per hectare than other ecosystems.”
Stevenson advocated the need for a mixed energy infrastructure of combined renewable and nuclear energy, and posed alternatives, including hydrogen, saying: “I don’t want people accusing me of attacking renewable wind energy without offering any viable alternative.
“I believe that we can save 75 per cent of the energy we currently use by being more efficient.
“It is shocking that we still allow homes to be built in Scotland with single-glazed windows and no loft insulation. Triple glazing and proper insulation would cut our energy bills dramatically. In our transition to a green economy we have to be smart. Hitching Scotland’s energy future to windfarms is a risky strategy that could literally see the lights go out when the wind changes.
“At the same time, we will double or treble electricity bills to Scottish consumers. I also believe that we should be investing much more into developing the new sunrise technologies such as the hydrogen economy. So far, no-one has invented an efficient way to store electricity. But hydrogen, which is the lightest and most abundant chemical element in the universe, can be readily stored and can provide an effective energy source.
“In Germany they are building hydrogen-powered cars, trains and ferries. Hydrogen-powered homes are under construction. We need to cut our dependency on fossil fuels and look to the future.”
“But until we do, it is sheer madness to turn our back on nuclear power. With our remaining nuclear power stations at Hunterston B and Torness nearing the end of their working lives, and a large and skilled workforce only too ready and willing to develop a new generation of nuclear plant, it is perverse to slam the door in their faces.