Highlands and Islands Greens
Highlands and Islands Greens

Tories and SNP Defeatist and Irresponsible

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

David Jardine, the Green Party candidate in Ross, Skye and Lochaber accuses the Tory candidate of defeatism and irresponsibility and the SNP candidate of complicity in their negative attitudes to wind farms in the Highlands.

In a statement today, Monday 2nd May, David Jardine said: “The Conservatives in this constituency are defeatist and irresponsible about climate change, it has become clear during this election campaign.  At Friday’s hustings in Dingwall, the Conservative candidate John Hodgson tried to rubbish wind farms using dodgy information off the internet.  His only answer to the climate change problem is nuclear power.  SNP candidate Mhairi Will is complicit in this.  She also opposes wind farms, she said at Friday evening’s meeting.

“Their opposition to windfarms seems to be based on the dubious idea that tourists will be frightened away by a few wind turbines.  The Highlands and Islands cannot be allowed to become dependent on tourism and government spending alone.  We need to maintain and develop our basic industries.

“Large areas on the west side of this constituency are National Scenic Areas – most of Wester Ross, the Cuillin hills, Glen Shiel and Glen Affric, and much of Lochaber – and are therefore effectively protected from windfarm development anyway.

“The greatest threat facing humanity is global climate change.  We in the Scottish Gren Party reject nuclear power.  It is dangerous, expensive and unsustainable.  Money is better spent on more effective measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

“The Scottish Green Party wants an energy strategy set for the UK which will deliver a phased withdrawal of fossil fuel and nuclear electricity generation and ambitious energy efficiency measures in all sectors leading to a target of 40% reduction in demand by 2020 and to establish renewable energy targets for fuel, heating and transport.  We want government to allocate £500 million for the development of wave and tidal resources in Scotland.  And we want the upgrading of the electricity grid to get renewable electricity to centres of population.  We should also develop the case for a sub-sea electricity grid to harness our offshore renewable energy potential.

“Our Green MSPs have demanded a planning framework for wind farm development in Scotland.  In the absence of action by the Scottish Executive, Highland Council is currently preparing its own renewable energy strategy.

“Whilst there may be a more limited number of landscapes that can accomodate the largest turbines, well designed on-shore windfarms, in the right places, will make – and are already making – a positive contribution.”