Halcro Johnston: Lochhead’s late concern on Moray windfarms “fools no one”

Jamie Halcro Johnston, Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has said the belated acknowledgement by Moray’s SNP MSP Richard Lochhead of the threat of windfarms to Moray’s landscape fools no one.

Despite Mr Lochhead being a Cabinet Secretary and now Minister in the Scottish Government for most of the last 10 years, it is understood he is only now seeking a meeting with his ministerial colleague Paul Wheelhouse to raise concerns.

Earlier this year, Mr Halcro Johnston forced the Scottish Government to reveal the scale of the number of windfarm applications they had pushed through against the wishes of local authorities like Moray.

Jamie said: “Richard Lochhead has been a senior figure for most of the last 10 years in an SNP Government which has a clear and indefensible track record of repeatedly overturning the planning decisions of Moray Council on large windfarms.

“While converts to the cause of protecting Moray’s wonderful upland scenery, and all the jobs in tourism that go with it, are always welcome, it is truly remarkable that it has taken so long for Richard Lochhead to finally act on this issue.

“It’s just a shame that we had to wait until groups like Save Wild Moray started campaigning before he decided that local democracy should count for something. Meanwhile, his Scottish Government has forced through unwanted developments on Moray.

“Richard Lochhead’s concerns over windfarms are too late and fool no one”.

Councillor Claire Feaver (Conservative – Forres Ward), a former chair of Moray Council’s planning committee, said: “Moray’s SNP councillors, like Richard Lochhead, have also been reduced to near silence when it comes to the protection of our landscapes, presumably because they think they would be contradicting SNP Government policy.

“Now that Richard Lochhead seems to have broken cover hopefully they will start listening to the concerns of local people too.

“If he wants to claim to be representing local residents in these discussions, he should tell the Energy Minister that we are reaching saturation point for onshore wind.

Our communities  have made their views on proposed developments like Clash Gour quite clear. Let’s hope this time the Scottish Government respects them.”