So much wind

Struan Stevenson MEP (see his video message of support on this website) has published a new book entitled So Much Wind – The Myth of Green Energy. The book is “the first of its kind; a comprehensive analysis of all the arguments against industrial wind energy, including the financial implications, impacts on health, animals, landscape vandalism, peat bogs, carbon emissions, offshore wind, impacts on blue carbon resources and of course, the many negative impacts on local communities most affected by the unbridled development of wind turbines. [… It …] also provides assessment of possible alternatives including an increased focus on energy efficiency and further research and development of sunrise technologies including the hydrogen economy, wave and tidal power, shale gas and nuclear thorium.”
The book is published by Birlinn Press and is available in all good bookshops as well as on Amazon and many other online retailers. Comments and reviews are welcome!
See the book jacket here: So Much Wind (FLR).

new home page

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We’ve put up a new home page, and the blog has moved to a new “News” page. Hope you will still find it easy to find everything you want to on the site. Let us know of any glitches or problems!

The Orion Nebula

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Two photos by Andy Hardy of Dyke cottage – the Orion nebula in all its glory taken in 2010, and a young tawny owl (2011). The shots were taken from Dyke cottage, which abuts one section of the proposed new Linfairn windfarm. Andy points out “If the proposal goes ahead shots like these are going to be a thing of the past.”

Wind Turbine Noise

Video

Tom and Carol filmed this yesterday. Listening to it makes you realise just how annoying the sound would be to experience day in day out. The high-pitched screeching half way through is apparently the turbine moving round to catch the wind. As Tom says “could do with some WD40”.

Bank Account

Save Straiton for Scotland now has a bank account set up. So please get those donations rolling in. You can donate directly online to the bank account. All details are on the Donate page, which also reminds you why we need the funds!

Riding at Hadyard Hill

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This was a comment made at the end of January when Linfairn was the only new development we were aware of.

I feel deeply depressed at the sheer number and vast spread of these polluting industrial installations throughout the beautiful, natural countryside of SW Scotland. My husband and I often hack on horseback including through Auchalton, Glenalla, Linfairn and Balbeg or past Dyke on our way to Straiton so we’re familiar with the state of the area’s single-track roads, paths and natural attractions. We live around a mile from Hadyard Hill wind farm and, while we can’t see turbines from our property, we can hear them when the wind is southerly and the noise they make is deep, loud, stressful and unpleasant and can persist for days on end. Despite being a condition of planning permission Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) has only fairly recently, and grudgingly, made access for walkers and horses possible to some areas of the Hadyard windfarm site thanks to the extremely helpful and proactive intervention of UPM Tilhill and their local area manager in Straiton. Much of the windfarm site remains inaccessible despite ‘right to roam’ legislation. Sadly, even with access to some of the site via turbine roads, the loss of amenity is significant as the turbine noise is unpleasant to ride or walk through. On several occasions I’ve found dead birds near or under the turbines, usually buzzards. Access to windfarm sites alone is little compensation for the huge loss of amenity in the form of unspoiled countryside and it must have a detrimental effect on local businesses that depend on tourism – which is probably the only significant economic activity in such a sparsely populated area, other than farming. Based on my experience of Hadyard Hill windfarm the proposed Linfairn windfarm promises to similarly further diminish public access to public space and diminish amenities for the people of Straiton. Furthermore, the proximity of turbines to homes and businesses, such as Balbeg and Dalmorton, is really alarming and surely – give their impact on health, sanity and property values – illegal. Consequently, absolutely oppose development of a windfarm at Linfairn.

(UPM Tilhill is a private forestry company)

Crosshill say ‘No’

The Community Council held its last Public Meeting to inform residents of the wind farm proposals, this time in Crosshill. No-one voted for the developments in this area. The Baldwin family, who live very close to Hadyard Hill wind farm by Barr, gave a first hand account of what it was like to live within 1km of turbines. The noise can be unbearable and it’s had a devastating effect on their lives. They mentioned it was not all the time, “but when the wind blows in a certain direction the noise permeates the whole house and seems to vibrate through you.” Shadow flicker was also a problem and is caused by turbines which are 1.2km away and not from a distance of 10 rotor diameters as claimed by developers. Please watch David’s film on the Impact, noise and health page.

Wildlife updates

OTTER-650x487This Sept. 2012 picture of an otter on the upper Girvan comes from the Ayrshire Rivers Trust who are an important consultee on wildlife matters. Otters are a key species in helping to determine whether a windfarm will be permitted or not. Other key species are bats, hen harriers, red squirrels, pine martens… and more. More information is now on the Wildlife page of this site. Please keep us updated with any information or sightings, most especially, of course, on any of the windfarm sites themselves! Get in touch via the Contact page or leave a comment.

Be afraid

We all know, don’t we, that the reduction in house prices isn’t considered relevant by planners. But it is also true that it will affect us all in some degree, and those closest to turbines will suffer big losses. To give some information on this we have put up a new House Prices page in the Impact section of this website. Please check it out and leave your comments.

Some good lobbying tips

Some good advice just in from fellow-campaigners at Craigengillan. Petitions to sign, people to lobby and why we should do it!

There are two very good petitions doing the rounds at the moment: please sign up to these, to give them the best chance of success:

Stop the reckless siting of wind turbines in scotland’s scenic landscapes

and

change planning regulations to enable an increase in the current neighbour notification distance of 20 metres in relation to wind turbine planning applications

Write to your local MP, local MSP, and Fergus Ewing MSP (Minister for Energy & Tourism, Scotland) and Greg Barker MP (Minister for Energy & Climate Change, UK). If MPs and the Departments get enough letters on the same subject, they have to pay attention to them. Ask for specific questions to be raised in Parliament.

[All these contact details are now updated on the Lobby page.]

Write to the local and national papers every time you read an article you agree or don’t agree with. Keep the issue in the press – it’s wrong for communities who don’t want them to have wind farms imposed upon them by the Scottish Government and goldrush minded wind farm developers.

In the news today

This appeared in today’s Scottish Daily Mail on p5, the article describes the scale of the proposals and our determination to fight them.

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Interestingly in the Finance section there is mention of Iberdrola (which owns ScottishPower) taking a dividend of £900m from its UK section after it increased charges to British consumers.

Effect on Tourism?

Within two miles of Straiton there are 11 businesses which offer accommodation to tourists (either self-catering or B&B). These eleven businesses manage 28 properties and offer 96 beds. All of them would be severely impacted by the construction of major wind farms, and the majority would probably close. How to square this with the Scottish government stated belief that wind farms have no effect on Scottish tourism? This apparently surprising claim is borne out (the government claims) by a report commissioned from Glasgow Caledonian University. The report is long and complex and the Scottish Government’s summary of it would seem – on first reading – to be simplistic and possibly misleading. We have uploaded the report and have begun to make a few comments on it. Please read on at https://savestraitonforscotland.com/about/planning-overview/#DocXII
I hope to be making more comments on this later!

Site changes

We have made some changes to the site layout.

  • There are new links to other windfarm sites nearby in South and East Ayrshire. If you have other information or are running a campaign group, please contact us.
  • There is a new page on Windfarm Impact. It may not be relevant in terms of planning law, but we all want to know about noise, effects on our health, house prices, and all those other issues. Let us have more links and information on what is concerning you.
  • Personal stories and opinions need their space too. If you want to sound off or make your personal lament, please do so and we will publish it on the new “Opinion” page.

Adam Supports the Campaign

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Adam Ingram MSP meets with members of the group set up to defend Straiton from wind farms. He said the Linfairn development was “totally inappropriate”. He listened to our concerns about the tremendous impact the turbines would have on the landscape, the issues about noise and health, the effect on visitors, the village and the school. He felt river valleys like the Girvan and Stinchar should be protected from unsuitable developments.

The hills in this photograph would be covered in giant turbines if the Linfairn wind farm went ahead.

From left to right: Andrew Sinclair (Treasurer), Whirly Marshall (Planning Lead), Bill Steven (Chair), Adam Ingram MSP and Peter Hadden.

Kirkmichael Shows Support

About 40 people turned out at last night’s meeting in Kirkmichael. Of course, quite a number of our friends in Kirkmichael already know about the threat to Straiton and surrounding area. Those that didn’t were shocked at the extent and number of proposals. Some of the turbines on the Linfairn Wind Farm would be seen in Kirkmichael and ones at Sclenteuch would be very visible. Bill Steven impressed upon everyone the urgency of the situation; these companies have had years of planning but we will only have 28 days after a planning application is made to oppose the scheme. The first of these is expected in a matter of weeks. We need to employ Planning, Landscape and Noise professionals which will require funds. Generous donations have been received but many more are needed, please help by sending a cheque to Save Straiton for Scotland and post to 18 Main Street, Straiton, South Ayrhsire KA19 7NF.

Some Key Points for Objectors

When a Planning Application is made letters of objections must contain certain points which Planners accept as valid reasons for objecting. Your house being devalued, loss of view, noise disturbance are not deemed valid reasons by Planning Departments. Where a development contravenes or contradicts local planning development are considered valid reasons. At the bottom of the Linfairn section there are two pdf documents which highlight several areas where this wind farm development is not in accordance with The Local Development Plan or the Joint Ayrshire Structure Plan.