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Nimbys 'thwart plans' for cheap green energy

Nimbys 'thwart plans' for cheap green energy(Paul Kelbie via The Observer)Scotland risks being left behind in the race for green technology by an

epidemic of nimbyism holding up planning applications and threatening to

derail government targets for renewable energy.While the UK and Scottish governments argue over the need for nuclear

power, experts claim that numerous multi-million-pound projects which could

create thousands of jobs and provide cheap and efficient power to millions

of homes are being thwarted by a highly vocal opposition.While 48 per cent of the population believe Scotland's energy should only

come from renewable sources, the number of groups objecting to plans for

wind farms, wave turbines and waste-to-energy plants tells a different

story.There are more than 12 separate pressure groups protesting against the

development of renewable energy sources across Scotland and that number

rises to over 100 throughout the UK.Opposition groups claim potential developments on their doorstep will

detract from the natural beauty of the landscape and harm local economies

driven by tourism."I don't believe nimbyism has anything to do with it," said Gillian Bishop,

a spokesperson for pressure group Views of Scotland. "Opposition to wind

power comes from the feeling that it doesn't provide enough electricity and

doesn't stop enough emissions from coal-fired power stations to justify

damaging the environment. Getting 50 per cent of power from renewable

sources is a ludicrous target - real pie-in-the-sky stuff."Despite landfill taxes rising by £8 a tonne per year to encourage

alternative solutions, numerous groups have sprung up against the burning

of waste to create cheap energy."Opposition to wind farms and waste-to-energy plants is in danger of

undermining what are ambitious government targets for renewable energy,"

said Professor Andrew Wheatley, of Loughborough University. "If we were to

rely on wind power alone something like three new windfarms a day would

have to be built. Waste-to-energy plants definitely have their part to play

in the provision of renewable energy, but there's a lot of education to be

done in terms of letting the public know how they operate."Later this year proposals for a state-of-the-art recycling village,

incorporating the latest waste-to-energy technology, are to be unveiled for

a new development south of Glasgow in East Renfrewshire.The developers claim the site would be among the most modern and efficient

in Europe, create numerous jobs and could provide enough cheap power for

thousands of surrounding homes and businesses. Although full details have

yet to be released, opponents have already started attacking the idea.The Westminster government is so concerned about the scale of opposition to

renewable energy developments that, in the wake of The Energy White Paper

and the Energy Review of 2006 which pledged to increase the development of

renewable energy technologies to provide 20 per cent of total electricity

supply by 2020, they have started a major national programme to examine the

fears of objectors.The Beyond Nimbyism project is funded by the Government's Economic and

Social Research Council and is a multi-disciplinary investigation into the

public's views. "Generally, objectors would say they were all for renewable

energy but that 'this is the wrong place'. It might sound like a nimby

response but there are often genuine concerns about viability. They

honestly didn't think it was the best place," said Judith Parks, research

associate with the Sustainable Cities Institute of Northumbria University,

who has studied several protests.And Green MSP Patrick Harvie said waste-to-energy plants, along with wave

and solar power, had a key role to play in the future. "We should be

thinking about waste material as a resource rather than a problem to be got

rid of," he said. "No matter how you dispose of it there will be some sort

of environmental impact s