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Last Updated: Monday, 10 January, 2005, 19:25 GMT
Bellamy steps up wind farm fight
David Bellamy
David Bellamy is intensifying his opposition to Scotland's wind farms
World-famous conservationist David Bellamy has again aired outspoken opposition to the growing number of wind farms being built in Scotland.

His comments came as a pressure group, the Scottish Wind Assessment Project (Swap), published a report listing more than 250 proposed or agreed sites.

Television botanist Professor Bellamy called the planned turbines a potential "blot on the landscape".

A Scottish Executive spokesman stressed ministers' commitment to green power.

Swap, which claims the wind farms would generate more power than is needed, found 12 sites were either built or under construction.

It said planning permission was being sought for a further 62 and that the number of turbines could rise to 2,800.

There would be no need to desecrate Scotland's landscapes with monster turbines and pylons
David Bellamy

Dr Bellamy, patron of environmental group Views of Scotland, said: "Each dot on the map is a potential blot on the landscape of Scotland, a cluster of gigantic wind turbines and all the costs that go with them.

"It has taken Swap's robust and well-conducted research to highlight just how far Scotland's energy policies have spun out of control."

The broadcaster said it would be more sensible for the government to spend money on energy-saving light bulbs.

"At the flick of 60 million switches there would be no need to desecrate Scotland's landscapes with monster turbines, concrete foundations, roads, pylonsand pits," he said.

'Half-baked' ideas

Swap chief executive Maf Smith attacked Prof Bellamy's arguments as "half-baked".

He said: "Clean renewable electricity has a key role to play in helping to meet Scotland's energy needs, provide skilled employment and tackle climate change and we must work together to achieve these goals.

"To help meet Scotland's renewable generation targets for 2020 it will take around 70 wind farms which would mean less than 2,000 turbines.

"This is another half-baked attempt at knocking wind energy by Views of Scotland and using Swap as a badge of convenience is an insufficient fig-leaf to cover their extreme Nimbyism."

The Green Party's energy spokeswoman also launched a bitter personal attack on Prof Bellamy, who she said "used to be widely respected as a conservationist", and his support for the "anti-wind brigade".

The Scottish Executive has handled the development of renewables in a half-hearted and uncoordinated way
Shiona Baird MSP
Greens' energy spokeswoman

Shiona Baird said: "In the same week that flooding has hit Scotland hard, and climate change across the world is tightening its grip, it is disappointing that the TV personality David Bellamy has joined up with a band opposing wind energy."

"It is time to take climate change seriously and I think most level-headed people will see through this skewed response by the anti-wind brigade."

She added: "The scale of the climate challenge requires us to use energy efficient light bulbs and develop renewable energy sources - to pitch one against the other is pretty poor stuff from Mr Bellamy.

"There will be some poorly planned wind farm proposals and many good ones, like any other development."

Ms Baird also attacked Holyrood ministers.

"Whilst it is true that the Scottish Executive has handled the development of renewables in a half-hearted and uncoordinated way, it is not true that wind power is a bad technology."

The executive said: "We are committed to our target of having 40% of Scotland's electricity generated from renewable sources by 2020 as part of our efforts to tackle climate change.

Wind turbine
Ministers are committed to 40% green energy by 2020

"This power will come from a range of sources - including wind power - but also other forms of renewable energy, such as wave, tidal and biomass."

He added: "The executive has also invested 20m in assisting the public sector in becoming more energy efficient.

"The funding can be used towards simple but effective initiatives such as changing to energy-saving light bulbs, improving lighting and heating control systems and installing more energy-efficient boilers."

But Views of Scotland accused ministers of ignoring other forms of renewable energy - such as tidal, wave and solar power.

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