SCOTS are being swindled by the development of a new major offshore windfarm, it has been claimed.

Kenny MacAskill, Alba’s deputy leader, protested outside the UK Government’s Scottish headquarters over the development of the Berwick Bank windfarm.

The former justice secretary branded the development the “Great Berwick Bank Robbery” and posed for a photo op with a woman dressed up as a highwayman.

Some 44% of the power generated by the windfarm will be sent to a connection in England with 56% of the gigawattage going to Scotland, The National understands.

Berwick Bank windfarm, located in the outer Firth of Forth, will be one of the largest offshore windfarms in the world once completed, with the capacity to generate up to 4.1 gigawatts of electricity.

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SSE, the firm developing the windfarm, said this is the equivalent of supplying power to more than five million homes – or every home in Scotland twice over.

A grid connection has been secured at Branxton, near Torness in East Lothian, the another planned for Blyth, Northumberland, the company has said.

But MacAskill has claimed it is a “scandal” that energy was being “siphoned” away from Scotland and being sent south.

SSE stressed the English connection was introduced as a result of a review of the UK energy network by the National Grid Electricity System Operator and said it had no role in the decision. 

The firm claims the development of the windfarm would provide a substantial boost to the local economy and have said the project would wipe out eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year – the equivalent of undoing Scotland’s annual car emissions.

East Lothian MP MacAskill said: “The Berwick Bank offshore windfarm will be one of the largest in the world.

“As such, it demonstrates yet again the scale and strength of Scotland’s massive energy resources which can meet Scotland’s needs as well as providing energy for export.

“The Great Berwick Bank Robbery is seen in the fact that the connection to Blyth in Northumberland will take 40% of the energy produced in Scotland and from Scottish natural resources piped directly south without landing in Scotland.

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“Scotland’s energy is being siphoned south without any revenue accruing to Scotland or jobs and economic windfall arising from its landing.

“That bounty off our shores, not just in Berwick Bank but across Scotland, should be a source of affordable energy for Scots, powering homes and businesses across the country but instead we see over half of Scots households facing fuel poverty this winter as average annual energy bills are set to top £3,000.”

It comes as households across the country face the worst drop in living standards in 40 years – in part caused by soaring energy bills as a result of the rocketing price of energy.

We told previously how nearly half of Scots feared they would not be able to maintain their current lifestyles because of the spiralling cost of living, according to a recent study.

MacAskill added: “The scandal of fuel-poor Scots in energy-rich Scotland must end and with independence, it will.”

A spokesperson for SSE said: "Berwick Bank windfarm represents a massive economic opportunity and we’re committed to maximising local economic benefits associated to the project wherever possible.

"Over the last 18 months, we’ve been delighted to engage with a variety of stakeholders, including Scottish Government, East Lothian Council and the Midlothian and East Lothian Chamber of Commerce.”

The firm said it was undertaking a socio-economic review of the potential benefits and opportunities the project could bring. 

A UK Government spokesperson said: "These claims are nonsense. Redirecting supply does not increase prices in Scotland and Scottish consumers benefit from lower wholesale market prices as a result of our renewables investments in Scottish waters and across Great Britain.

“Our co-ordinated approach for offshore wind connections will save money for consumers across Scotland and allow more clean energy to be generated in the region.”