An environmental lobby group has backed a windfarm developer’s claims that its proposed Angus development has public backing.
A county-wide poll has found nearly three-quarters of those surveyed believe renewable energy should be taken seriously as an energy source, with 17% objecting to the proposed 17-turbine Nathro Hill windfarm in the Angus Glens.
Friends of the Earth Tayside sees the survey, conducted by public engagement firm Facilitating Change, as confirmation of public approval for renewable energy projects.
The telephone poll, conducted on behalf of developer Eurowind, surveyed 401 adults living across the Angus Council area and found 72% believe it is important the development of renewable energy is taken seriously, 55% of participants believe the location of Nathro Hill is a suitable one for a windfarm, and 17% object to the location.
The firm claims 47% direct support for its Nathro Hill proposal and 23% direct objection, with 30% expressing no strong opinion.
Eurowind director Ian Lindsay said: “It’s clear that most people across Angus see renewables as an important part of Scotland’s energy future, all we need now are some well sited projects to actually start delivering Angus’s contribution.
“I’m heartened that over half of participants see Nathro Hill as a good location for a windfarm and that public support for the project is far higher than opposition.”
The survey also asked residents their views on potential priorities for investing community funds from Nathro Hill Wind Farm identified as supporting apprenticeships or training through Angus College, supporting communities around the windfarm, and Angus-wide projects.
Eurowind said all three options received more than 66% support and “minimal” opposition, with “supporting apprenticeships or training” being the most popular use of funds at over 77%.
Friends of the Earth Tayside coordinator Andrew Llanwarne said onshore wind development is an “important, well proven technology” but there is an onus on developers and planning officials to minimise landscape impact.
He said: “We are pleased to see that the research tends to confirm previous evidence that the majority of the public supports the development of renewable sources of electricity in preference to fossil fuels such as coal and gas, the emissions from which contribute towards climate change.
“The research at Angus College also indicates that young people are strongly supportive of renewable energy and concerned about climate change, again reflecting findings from other studies.”