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It's caves or wind farms, warns MSP

AN MSP has angered an anti-wind farm protester by declaring that if Scots do not embrace the technology they will end up up living in caves.

John Mason also declared his admiration for wind farms and said he would love to have one sited near his home.

His comments came in an email to Helen Jackson, an anti-wind farm campaigner from Biggar, Lanarkshire.

The Glasgow Shettleston MSP wrote: "Thanks for your email. You are right that wind farms can be a bit controversial!

"I myself think they are great. I drove down the M74 recently and they looked superb along the side of the motorway. And walking among them is an amazing experience – I love it.

"But leaving aside the beauty of them, it is the practical benefits that really count. Oil and gas will run out one day so we owe it to our children to invest heavily in wind farms and other renewable technology.

"Otherwise we end up with no energy supply and go back to living in caves.

"You may be happy to live in a cave but think of your children and grandchildren and future generations.

"Surely you do not want them living in caves with wood fires? So even if you do not like wind farms yourself, please do think about future generations. Yours sincerely John."

He added: "PS I would love to have a wind farm near my house."

Ms Jackson took a dim view of Mr Mason's response.

She said: "Is this the type of measured, mature and intelligent response that we can expect on the current debate on renewable energy and any other significant matter of national importance from the SNP? I fear for an independent Scotland governed by such people."

The exchange followed a report in The Herald last month about claims the Scottish Government – which has set a target to produce the equivalent of Scotland's total energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 – was pressuring local councils into softening planning guidelines.

The claims came after it emerged the Government had written to Dumfries and Galloway Council instructing it to re-categorise "areas of limited potential" to "areas of greatest opportunity" to provide a "more precise steer for wind developers".

When officials said councils had their share of such developments, the Government said the argument was "not appropriate".

Conservative MSPs accused ministers of bullying councils.

Ms Jackson noted: "It seems this is the same approach taken by a certain SNP MSP when replying to concerned members of the public regarding the proliferation of wind farms in their area."

Mr Mason was unrepentant, insisting his remarks were only slightly tongue-in-cheek.

He said: "I'm genuinely enthusiastic about wind farms. Firstly because of their value in providing green energy but also I like these things.

"My father was an engineer and I think they look great. I would be quite happy to have one at the back on my house."

The chief executive of green power industry body Scottish Renewables, Niall Stuart, said: "Mr Mason's view chime with the view of lots of people who feel wind farms have a neutral or positive impact on the landscape.

"A recent survey showed 70% of people in Scotland support the continued development of onshore wind power."

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