SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has called on Scottish Secretary David Mundell to “stand up” for his own constituents instead of the UK Treasury as it was revealed that a potential renewables development in his own constituency is in danger of being halted by the UK Tory Government’s energy reforms – despite widespread community support.
The UK Government’s Energy Bill, currently making its way through Westminster, will cut support for wind power. A wind development – Twentyshilling Hill – in David Mundell’s Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale will not be protected by exemptions to the reforms and will held back as a result – resulting in lost economic opportunities for the Upper Nithsdale area which include a £3 million community benefit fund.
South of Scotland MSP McAlpine said: “The revelation that the Twentyshilling Hill development within David Mundell’s own constituency will be held back by his party’s damaging renewables reforms should be a source of embarrassment for the Scottish Secretary – especially given its widespread community support.
“The onshore wind sector is massively important to the Scottish economy – 70% of planned projects in the UK are here in Scotland. The Tory UK government’s damaging renewables reforms will have a significant impact on investment in the industry north of the border.
“Yet we seem to have a Scottish Secretary that is more interested in being the Tories’ representative in Scotland than Scotland – and his constituents’ – representative at the Cabinet table.
“David Mundell must stand up for renewables in his own constituency and urge his Cabinet colleagues to halt these cuts which will damage the Scottish economy and our fight against climate change.”
Commenting on the recent cuts in UK government renewable energy subsidies, a spokesman for BVG Associations, a ‘green’ consultancy, said: “In response to the current climate, some companies will choose to tighten their belts and welcome the freedom from political interference. Confident that they can deliver cost reductions, they will thrive in the new “subsidy free” onshore wind world.
“Other companies will use the challenge to broaden horizons. Many markets across the globe need the UK’s expertise and experience.By taking a more positive and, indeed, realistic approach, the UK industry can, and must, develop a strong and global business.
“At the recent Renewable UK annual conference in Liverpool, it was easy to find people in the auditorium or exhibition floor declaring that the UK onshore wind industry was in a critical, if not fatal, condition.
“Of course, the industry in the UK faces a tough time. But the resilience and can-do attitude the wind industry has shown has helped the UK market to be the sixth largest operator of wind power globally and the world leader in offshore wind since 2008.”