Peter Peacock Questions Mather over Western Isles Windfarm Referendum
31 May 2007
Peter Peacock has questioned Enterprise Minister Jim Mather on
the Western Isles Windfarm Referendum in the Scottish Parliament. The exchange
Peter Peacock (Highlands and Islands) (Lab): I welcome the minister's conversion to the promotion of onshore wind farming and his recognition that we need more onshore wind farms, that they are important and that we need a strategic view of them. However, in the Western Isles the SNP is at least implying that it is in favour of vetoing a local onshore wind farm by means of a referendum. Do ministers intend to provide a veto to onshore wind farms by means of local referenda? If so, how does a local veto square with our national interest?
Jim Mather: We have planning powers, but we will also ensure that an onshore wind farm will not go ahead at any price at any place if that causes other damage to the local economy. Where there is a referendum, we will certainly pay attention to it.
We are looking to make sure that we maximise the well-being, wealth and growth of Scotland, and that means maximising the well-being, wealth, growth and potential of every community in Scotland. That will be the guiding factor, but we will do that openly, so the member will be able to make his judgment and audit the process.
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