Still no answers on 'Rural Tax'

Borderers are still in the dark about SNP plans to introduce a 'rural tax' on areas with new wind farms in Scotland.

The plans - announced earlier this year - would have seen charges worth millions of pounds imposed by the Scottish Government for work done by local councils on wind farm applications. The Scottish Government has recently announced that the proposal would be delayed until April next year without giving any reasons why.

The proposal is strongly opposed by Scottish Borders Council who have insisted that any charges for wind farm applications should be collected by the council and used locally since the work is done locally.

Analysis by the Council suggests that the Borders would have lost out by £1.25m over the last five years if the changes had been in place.

Despite writing to Scottish Government Ministers in June, Councillor Tom Miers, Executive Member for Planning and Environment, has heard nothing back. He explained: “I wrote outlining our concerns weeks ago to the minister and have heard nothing back yet, except for this official announcement postponing the plans.

“I guess that means the plans are in trouble, but you'd have thought that the Scottish Government would have the courtesy to reply to my letter, which gave details on why the rural tax was wrong and how it could be changed for the better. But nothing so far."

Michelle Ballantyne, MSP for the South of Scotland commented: “You get the impression that the nationalists simply don't understand or care about how their decisions affect the Borders.

“They routinely ignore local views on big planning decisions in our area.

“Then there's the scandal of the failure to pay our farmers their CAP payments on time. The imposition of food waste collections caused the end of green waste collections. And now this attempt to  impose charges on us by the back door is just another sample of the SNP's attitude towards rural Scotland.”