Cabrach protections call goes unanswered after DFM’s “glib and scripted” retort

09/06/2023
MSPs Alexander Burnett and Douglas Ross

DUNDEE-based Deputy First Minister Shona Robison has been criticised over “democratically deserting” a North East community at the centre of wind farm concerns. 

In the Upper Deveron Valley, the Cabrach is home to 77 turbines between Clashindarroch and Dorenell, with other applications in the pipeline to almost double that number.  

Residents along the border of Moray and Aberdeenshire have asked local representatives, including MSPs Richard Lochhead, Douglas Ross and Alexander Burnett to support a capacity study for the region, fearing a “ring of steel” if authorities do not intervene.  

But when asked to outline possible protections for the Cabrach and its Pictish site Craig Dorney, Ms Robison did not answer, opting to deliver what Mr Burnett described as a “glib and scripted” retort about Brexit. 

The Scottish Conservative MSP for Aberdeenshire West asked during general questions: 

“In February, Douglas Ross and myself met with the Cabrach Trust on the Moray-Aberdeenshire border, as I had done previously with Richard Lochhead last year. 

“We heard from a community decimated by the oversaturation of onshore wind farms — a ‘ring of steel’ as they described it. 

“They now a face an additional 54 turbines making it 146 in total. And one of these sites includes Craig Dorney, one of the few unexcavated and intact Pictish sites, only partially protected as a Scheduled Monument. 

“Is there any protection that this Scottish Government will give to our rural communities, or will they continue these modern-day Highland Clearances and destroy our historic and natural environment?” 

Mr Robinson responded by saying: “Of course one of the big impacts on our rural communities is the impact of Brexit and some of the immigration policies that have absolutely decimated rural businesses.” 

Mr Burnett said later: 

“On behalf of many people who live in rural communities like those around the Cabrach, no one could have expected the deputy first minister to start engagement on this crucial problem by democratically deserting them. 

“Reeling off the same glib and scripted answers for every question probably doesn’t work for Ms Robinson’s constituents in Dundee, and they definitely don’t for rural Scotland. 

“I’m going to ask Mr Lochhead, the local SNP MSP, to clarify these unhelpful and uninformed comments.” 

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