Published: 25/10/2013 15:44 - Updated: 25/10/2013 15:55

Government green energy tax cut could be death knell for new wind farms says councillor

Jim Crawford - developers won't build new windfarms without subsidies.
Jim Crawford - developers won't build new windfarms without subsidies.

A CONTROVERSIAL Westminster move to cut green energy taxes could be the “death knell” for new wind farms in the Highlands, it has been claimed.

Amid mounting public pressure about soaring energy charges David Cameron announced this week that the UK government would review green levies in a bid to lower prices for consumers.

The prime minister said they pushed up household bills to “unacceptable” levels but it angered the Conservative party’s government coalition partners, the Lib Dems, and was condemned by environmental groups.

Highland councillor Jim Crawford, a long-term critic of wind farms, has today predicted the move could spark a halt to the construction of turbines in the region.

The area has proved an attractive location for wind farms with a raft of developments built, under construction or in the planning process.

Councillor Crawford said energy companies enjoyed healthy subsidies from the green taxes and predicted it could hit their plans in the future.

“If they can’t get the subsidies, they can’t build them,” he said.

“I think it could be the death knell for wind farms and it could be the saving of the Highlands. These things are monstrosities.”

Councillor Crawford claims wind farms are uneconomic and inadequate as a source of energy.

The Inverness South councillor is barred by the local authority from taking part in determining wind farm planning applications because of his views.

He claims his fellow councillors and officials are “jaded” dealing with the stream of major new schemes which have to be considered.

But Niall Stuart, of the green energy trade association Scottish Renewables, insisted that investing in renewable energy was good value for money and highlighted the rapid increase in renewable electricity generation.

“According to the UK government’s own figures, supporting large scale renewable energy projects adds no more than £30 per year to the average annual household energy bill,” the chief executive said.

“That’s the equivalent of around 57p per week towards a sector that is generating more electricity in Scotland today than either coal or gas, and which is making a massive dent in the country’s carbon emissions.

“Almost half of people’s energy bills is made up of wholesale energy cost, which has risen dramatically in recent years due to volatility in the gas market, while supporting renewable energy projects across the UK accounts for just two per cent of the average annual household bill.”

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