Fund of £300,000 to help with rise in wind farm applications

image captionMoney can be spent on speeding up advice on noise and landscape impacts or employing more staff

A fund to help planning authorities deal with large numbers of wind farm applications has been opened.

The Scottish government has made £300,000 available for authorities dealing with a significant rise in wind turbine planning applications.

It comes after some councils asked for a temporary halt to new applications, after being deluged by proposals from developers.

Ministers indicated in June that funding would be made available.

Anti-wind turbine campaigners have said the money is not new and is "just a drop in the ocean".

Amongst other uses the money can be spent on more staff and faster advice.

Earlier this year Fife Council called for a temporary halt to applications, due to the pressure being put on planners by large numbers of plans being put forward.

Councils need to prove evidence of their need to secure funding.

'Funding meaningless'

From the fund, £280,000 will go directly to the authorities, and £20,000 will be used by the government to monitor how the money has been spent, find out the most effective approaches, and provide advice for the future.

Planning Minister Derek Mackay said: "We know that some planning authorities are experiencing particularly high volumes of applications for wind turbines, and the funding will help by bringing in expertise, or more staff, to deal with the process.

"I have made clear that I do not think a moratorium on applications is appropriate but would cause undue delay and uncertainty for everyone involved.

"But I do recognise that some planning authorities are currently facing a high volume and this funding will help them deal with this."

Linda Holt, from Communities Against Turbines Scotland, said: "This is not new news, it came out in June and has been spun differently.

"It is not new money and it is not even a drop in the ocean. It will make absolutely no difference.

"Local authorities are struggling and what the government is doing is cutting them out. It is meaningless."

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