Aristocrats subsidised by the fuel poor

A report in today’s Scotsman says the Land Reform Review Group (LRRG), would be investigating concerns that aristo­crats are benefiting from the renewables revolution while the poor grapple with fuel ­poverty. They are considering a report from the Kirk that highlights the large payments made to landowners that are in effect subsidised by domestic consumers, including the fuel poor.

In its submission, the Kirk said such figures represented a “significant transfer of income from domestic electricity consumers, including those living in fuel poverty, to landowners. The Church is concerned this redistribution of income is tending to promote inequality. The ownership of land in Scotland remains deeply inequitable and the new landed income from wind power entrenches that inequality.”

It added: “A paradox of life in rural Scotland is that the rapid growth of renewable energy is matched by a growth in fuel poverty… This is unacceptable and if landowners are gaining financial rewards from renewables while a growing number of households are living in fuel poverty, then the strong case for re-examining land reform to ensure the financial benefits of renewables are shared more equitably is strengthened further.”

Small hydro power schemes are also in trouble.  Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is facing a clash with developers over plans to declare dozens of waterfalls off-limits to new schemes to provide hydro-electric power. They fear that installing hydro schemes at 
some 130 environmentally sensitive locations will reduce the mist and humidity which appear to be vital for the survival of  plants, several of which are extremely rare.

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