A top Scottish economist who has been appointed to advise Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, is embroiled in a conflict of interest row over his support for wind farms. Graeme Blackett, the founder of consultancy firm Biggar Economics, has provided evidence to public inquiries into controversial wind farms such as the 59- turbine Dorenell scheme on the Glenfiddich estate, and Stronelairg, a 67-turbine wind farm in Inverness-shire. Blackett’s reports, submitted as independent evidence, often highlight the economic boost that wind farms can generate and, in some cases, have challenged claims that planting giant turbines in some of the country’s most scenic areas can harm local tourism. Blackett, recently unveiled as an adviser to Sturgeon’s “growth commission”, a body set up to explore the economic potential of an independent Scotland, is facing allegations of a conflict of interest after it emerged that he had previously endorsed the SNP’s renewable energy drive.
Times 25th Sept 2016 read more »