Page last updated at 10:13 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 11:13 UK

Bellamy calls for more sea power

SeaGen. Pic: Marine Current Turbines
Tidal power schemes have been proposed for the Pentland Firth

Botanist Professor David Bellamy has urged Scotland to stop building wind farms and instead focus on schemes that harness tidal energy.

His comments came as the final section of the £300m Whitelee development in East Renfrewshire came on stream.

Prof Bellamy, who has campaigned against wind farms since 1996, said turbines posed a risk to wild birds.

He described efforts to generate tidal power in the Pentland Firth as "absolutely wonderful".

Efforts to encourage companies to develop tidal energy schemes in the firth between the Scottish mainland and Orkney are being led in part by the Scottish Government.

Opponents to wind turbines say they kill birds and bats that fly into the blades.

Prof Bellamy told the BBC Scotland news website that for environmental reasons and during a recession wind power was too expensive and wrong.

I could never understand why years ago the rig yards and ship yards were not reopened and used for developing tidal power
Professor David Bellamy

He added that if people wanted to help combat climate change they should wear an extra layer of clothing in winter.

The scientist said: "Scotland is a beautiful country that should not be covered in wind farms.

"I could never understand why years ago the rig yards and ship yards were not reopened and used for developing tidal power. That would have created thousands of jobs in Scotland and made it a world leader in tidal energy."

On plans to harness tidal energy in the Pentland Firth, he said: "It's absolutely wonderful. That would create lots of jobs."

Prof Bellamy has co-signed an open letter with bird and anti-wind farm campaigner Mark Duchamp criticising the RSPB's stance on wind turbines.

In the letter, they claim the wild bird conservation charity's opposition to wind schemes had weakened.

Project assessment

RSPB Scotland said it carefully considered every application to build a farm and demanded developers to make detailed assessments of potential threats to birds.

A spokesman said the organisation opposed wind projects it deemed to be a risk, or where they felt the developer had made an insufficient assessment.

Whitelee - Europe's largest onshore wind farm - first began producing electricity in January 2008.

Developer ScottishPower Renewables estimates the wind farm can generate enough energy to power 180,000 homes.

The firm wants to add 81 more turbines to the site. The application for the first 36 of them is being considered by the Scottish Government.

The development is made up of 140 turbines, across an area about the size of Glasgow city centre, each standing at 110m high.

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