Fundraising update

Here is the good news! We have just passed our original target of £12,500! (exact figure as of today is £12,610.00) This is a fantastic amount to have raised in such a short time from such small communities. Many thanks to all of you who have contributed.

And now for the bad news. The figure of £12,500 required to fight the Linfairn wind farm application was our best estimate based on information we had at the time. However, we now believe that we should increase this fund to about £17,500 if we are to have all options at our disposal in our fight.

So, if you have already donated, many thanks: and think about us again if you find any loose change down the back of the sofa. For those who intended to make a donation but have not yet done so, your contribution is still absolutely vital, so please don’t put it off.

We are planning some fundraising activities which will help too – news will be posted here of course. You will also shortly be able to find out how the money is spent in detail – both through a dedicated page on the website and through future editions of our newsletter.

Campaign Merchandise

well dressed carAll the smartest cars should have one: a magnetic panel to stick on your door to advertise Save Straiton for Scotland’s campaign. Failing this, at least a bumper sticker … Or for those of us who only have a bike, how about a fridge magnet. All the campaign merchandise is available from Dorothy and Peter at The Buck. All profits (if any!) go to campaign funds. You could buy yours on Easter Monday when you brave the crowds at the Buck for Dorothy’s fundraising day.

Fund raising fun

We’re delighted to announce that Dorothy has pledged all of her profits at The Buck on Easter Monday, one of her busiest days, to campaign funds – tell your friends!

If you have a fund-raising idea, why not put it into action and donate the proceeds to the campaign?

For the record …

The Scottish Government’s first response to Save Straiton for Scotland. Colin Urquhart,
Renewables Policy Officer, replies on behalf of Alex Salmond to a letter from campaign chair, Bill Steven. We have highlighted some key phrases:

The response states that gaining energy from renewable sources “must be done in a way that protects the environment and takes account of local communities” …
National and local development plans are to be taken into account and cumulative impact is stressed: “… where adverse cumulative impacts could result, mitigation measures can be applied to reduce the impact to an acceptable level.” The letter ends, “The Scottish Government regards sensitively sited wind energy as an important part of its strategy for achieving long-term energy security and protecting Scotland’s environment for generations to come. However, we appreciate that you, and your community, have strong views on this issue and we respect your point of view.”
Please note the “sensitively sited” phrase.

Read the full text here.

Consultants update

As you know, one of the principal reasons for our fundraising drive (a fantastically successful one so far!) has been to enable Save Straiton for Scotland to employ consultants to help us to present our objections to the individual wind farms in the best possible way. Their job is to make sense of the complex planning regulations and guidelines which apply to wind farms at both local and national level, and to write and present reports outlining legitimate objections at the appropriate time.

We have secured the services of a highly knowledgeable technical team – one that is probably more experienced than any other in assessing and presenting thorough planning policy objections to wind farms and wind turbines. The core of the team will be Ian Kelly MRTPI and Mark Steele. Ian, who is an experienced planning advisor with Graham and Sibbald, chartered surveyors, will address planning policy and the overall administration of the case. Mark, a Chartered Landscape Architect and a member of the Landscape Institute, with over 25 years’ experience of landscape planning and design, will address landscape and visual impacts. These two areas are absolutely key – every wind farm rejection has rested on planning policy and/or landscape.

If needed, we can also draw on the services of Dick Bowdler to address noise issues and John Campbell QC (who has already kindly visited and given advice) on legal aspects.

The team’s services have been engaged initially to help present arguments against Linfairn wind farm, which will be the first to seek planning permission.

There are many broader aspects that rightly concern us about the proposed wind farms, but there is no doubt that eventual decision will be made entirely on recognised planning policy grounds. It is on planning policy alone that the team will be concentrating, to give us all the best chance of successfully making our case.

The team have all agreed to work within the limits of the funds that we have and the budget will be carefully monitored.

In addition to this team, and following advice by Adam Ingram MSP, we are also being ably assisted through Planning aid for Scotland, by Mark Russell.

Ed Davey warns wind farm companies about Scottish independence


This article in The Telegraph makes for interesting reading. He warns that an independent Scotland could not rely on selling power to England. Interconnectors between Norway, Ireland and England are being pursued.
It also mentions that a recent poll, by Scottish Renewables and conducted by YouGov shows that 69 per cent of visitors would not be deterred by the presence of a wind farm. That shows that 31 per cent might be!

South Ayrshire explains the planning process

This is an email from Gus Collins, the Community Engagement Manager for Policy, Community Planning and Public Affairs at South Ayrshire Council, as a result of an enquiry at their recent road show in Straiton. It explains the current status of the five windfarms with the South Ayrshire planning system. (An S36 application means one where the applicant has the right to appeal direct to the Scottish Government if their proposal is turned down locally – this applies to a windfarm larger than 50Mw – i.e. all the proposed wind farms around Straiton except Dalmorton – which would be around 20Mw)

Dear Straiton resident,

Thank you for raising an enquiry at the Your South Ayrshire Mobile Trailer in Straiton last week. My colleague Colette McGarva and myself have passed on your enquiry and I can now give you the following feedback on the current status of planning applications on wind farms which you requested.

The Council is aware of one undetermined S.36 application in the vicinity of Straiton. This proposes the erection of 23 wind turbines on land surrounding Dersalloch Hill, to the east of the village. The application was first submitted for the consideration of the Scottish Ministers in 2005. Further information on a number of aspects of the proposed development is required, before the application can proceed to determination. South Ayrshire Council, as a statutory consultee, has lodged an objection to the proposed development with the Scottish Ministers.

To the Council’s knowledge, no other S.36 applications for wind farms in the vicinity of Straiton have been approved by, or submitted for the consideration of, the Scottish Ministers.

To date, no planning applications for wind farms in the rural area surrounding Straiton and Kirkmichael have been submitted for the Council’s consideration. However, the Council’s Planning Service has received requests for scoping opinions (opinions as to the information to be provided in an environmental statement and the methodology to be used to assess the environmental impacts of the proposed development), and input to such opinions being provided by the Scottish Ministers, under the relevant environmental impact assessment (EIA) legislation, for proposed wind farms in the rural area around Straiton, at the following locations:

  • Sclenteuch (north-east of Straiton; provisional capacity of 33 turbines)
  • Glenmount (south-east of Straiton; primarily within East Ayrshire; provisional capacity of 26 turbines)
  • Dalmorton (south-west of Straiton; provisional capacity of 19 turbines)
  • Linfairn (south-west of Straiton; provisional capacity of 25 turbines; encompasses the whole of the Dalmorton site)

The above sites may or may not materialise, in future, as S.36 or planning applications. If the Council receives a planning application then neighbours within 20 meters of the development site will be neighbour notified and the Council also sends to all Community Councils a copy of the ‘Weekly List’ of all planning applications received in any week. In addition a public notice will appear in the Carrick Gazette. However, you may also wish to keep a check on the Council’s website which provides a ‘live’ link to all planning applications received. This is an easy to use facility and can be found at:

In the event any wind farm applications (whether S.36 or planning) are forthcoming in the vicinity of Straiton or Kirkmichael – or, indeed, anywhere else in South Ayrshire, for that matter – the Council will assess their merits against the development plan and all other material considerations, including Government policy and guidance. Members of the public will have the opportunity to submit representations on any wind farm proposal at application stage, with the relevant authority taking cognisance of those representations when determining the application (representations on S.36 applications should be lodged direct with the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents and Deployment Unit). Hope this is helpful as we are aware you left a specific request for feedback along with many others who left comments. Not everyone chose to leave contact details so if you are in a position to pass this on to other neighbours and friends who attended that day please feel free to do so.

Gus Collins
Manager Community Engagement
On behalf of :

Claire Monaghan
Head of Policy, Community Planning and Public Affairs
South Ayrshire Council
Tel: 01292 612757

Chic Brodie MSP to help oppose 130 turbines

Since he came down to Straiton on March 6th, Chic Brodie MSP has been listening hard to villagers about the wind turbine proposals, and consulting very proactively with our campaign. He says he “will not support 130 turbines as proposed” and that he hopes to have “detailed conversation with planners and developers over the next few weeks” We are hoping that he will be down in Straiton again soon: meanwhile he is in regular touch with Bill Steven our committee chair to exchange ideas. We very much welcome his involvement and look forward to his visit.

Just to lighten the mood

From last week’s New Scientist: hope we are saner than this!

PARANOID observation of the week comes to us from Russia, courtesy of Jeff Clarke, who uncovered it at the news site

Operating on the principle that readers’ comments on news events can be more interesting than the coverage of the news itself, Jeff turned to what RT’s readers had to say about the cataclysmic meteorite event at Chelyabinsk on 15 February.

The not-untypical comment he draws our attention to is: “Europe is to blame. They’re using all those wind farms they are building to blow the planet off course, and deliberately tried to make Earth collide with this meteorite whilst it was over Russia.”

New photos of Straiton

You know what they say about pictures being worth a thousand words. Some new composite photos of Straiton have just been uploaded to the site, to remind us of what we are fighting for. They are large composites and can be downloaded in their original size if you wish. You can see them in slide-view here: – or find them on the Gallery page at Hope you like them!

Any Questions?

Radio 4’s topical discussion programme was broadcast from Ayr last night. The final question put to the panel was “How would the panel feel if they had several giant industrial turbines situated within 2km of their homes?”

Joan McAlpine, MSP for the South of Scotland, was among those on the panel and although representing this area she had not heard of the threat to Straiton; Jonathan Dimbleby asked if this question related to a particular place. Now would be a good time to write to Joan and let her know our concerns.

The programme is repeated at 13.10 today (Saturday) and you can join the debate by calling Any Answers? on 03700 100 444 or emailing You can text on 84844 and tweet using #bbcaq. Lines open at 12.30 and close at 14.30.

Press Release from WilloWind

The following press release has been issued by WilloWind, the developers of the Linfairn site which is split across two areas; Linfairn and Dyke/Knockgardner. Feel free to post any comments you might have.

WilloWind Energy has underlined its commitment to listen to local residents over its plans for a wind farm in South Ayrshire by announcing that it is to review the proposal.
WilloWind Energy had sought the views of the local community in advance of the submission of a planning application for a project to create a wind farm with 29 turbines near the village of Straiton.
But after holding a public exhibition on the plans in January and considering the responses from residents, the company is now looking to change both the number and locations of the turbines.
The revised layout will now see 25 turbines on the site, with turbine nearest to Straiton to be relocated more than 2km south west from the village to fully comply with the Scottish Government’s guideline on a 2km separation distance between turbines and town/villages.
The information on the revised plans is being circulated to all stakeholders and interested parties, including all residents who provided contact details at the January public exhibition in Straiton.
Martin Davie, CEO of WilloWind Energy, said the new plans reflect a well designed scheme that fully takes into account the large amount of local consultation.
He said: “We take community concerns very seriously and have sought to involve local people, politicians and interested parties to progress this development with sensitivity.
“We have been totally transparent in outlining our proposal and in recognising the Scottish Government’s policy on a 2km separation distance between turbines and town/villages, although it should be stressed this is a guide not a rule.
“Some of the people we spoke to felt three of the turbines were just a bit too close to the village. So we’ve taken the positive decision to remove them from the application.
“This means there will be no turbines within two kms of the village.
“We believe this will counter the main issues of concern with this proposal.
“It is a clear endorsement of what we said we’d do – that is to listen to the views of the community to help us determine the final shape of our planning application to the Scottish Government.
“I also hope this media statement clarifies any confusion that may have been caused in the local community over the 2km separation distance between the turbines and Straiton that stems from inaccurate information attributed to WilloWind Energy in a recent article in The Daily Telegraph.
“In addition to generating significant amounts of renewable energy, which would make a major contribution towards meeting Scotland’s renewable targets, this project would also bring a range of other benefits to the local area, from new jobs and commercial opportunities for local businesses through to funding for a range of community benefits.”
WilloWind Energy hopes to submit a formal planning application, which will detail the revised layout, to the Scottish Government within the next six weeks.
Mr Davie also said he doubted whether concerns from residents about a possible five planning applications for wind farms around Straiton would be borne out.
He said: “A great deal of careful planning and consultation has gone into ensuring the Linfairn wind farm has minimal negative impact and brings a real and lasting benefit to the local community.
“Our project is the next application to be considered by Scottish Government but I would be very surprised if we see plans progress for all five applications for wind farms in the area.”

Article on Straiton in the Telegraph

Printed in the Daily Telegraph 11th March (p. 9), and online at – an article on Straiton headlined “Picturesque village is facing wind farm ‘catastrophe’ ” by Auslan Cramb, the Telegraph’s Scotland correspondent.

WilloWind is quoted as saying that they are “committed to meaningful consultation and as a result of feedback from the community had cut the number of turbines planned from 29 to 25, which would keep them all more than 1.25 miles (2km) from homes.”

Obviously, we await a new layout plan (nothing new on their website yet), but it seems highly unlikely that they will be able to keep all the 25 turbines “more than 1.25 miles (2km) from homes.” At present, only 9 wind turbines lie outside the 2 km buffer zone. See the map and comment at

WilloWind don’t seem to be too good at measuring. Or indeed geography generallly. In one section of their initial Scoping report, they described the Linfairn site as being in “East Ayrshire, Scotland, 0.8 km southwest of the village of Straiton …” In another place the location was given as “approximately 1 km south-west of Straiton, South Ayrshire” (right county at least). In another section (Visual Amenity), the report stated that “The nearest main settlement is the village of Straiton, located 4 km to the north of the site boundary..”

This information is courtesy of SNH, who also drily noted that as WilloWind did not provide a layout map “it is not possible to know which of these statements is correct and thus what impact the proposals will have on this settlement.” (see Linfairn final scoping opinion, p. 50 – the document is available on

Whoops. Perhaps we should buy them a good ruler and a pair of dividers.

Wind wise radio – 8pm GMT tonight – interview with Bill & Whirly – special Scottish programme

Sorry for the late update! The programme is on blog radio (online) at It is a Scotland  special, and has an interview with Bill Steven and Whirly Marshall among other items.

The programme will run as follows: see Wind wise radio for further details

A very special Scotland episode at a special time with very special guests.

This Sunday, WWR will be live at 8pm GMT (4pm ET) in the run-up to the demonstration in Inverness

A Special guest host – Linda Holt from Scotland against Spin!
Also joining us live, Pat Wells fresh from 10 years of turbine combat.
An interview with Whirly Marshall and William Stevens of who are fighting against the odds to save their village from the ravages of 130 massive turbines.
A very special conversation with Sally Page and her friend Rhona Weir. Rhona is 93 years young and headed to the demonstration in Inverness — Are you?
And lots more!

Chairman’s Report #1

Save Straiton For Scotland: Chairman’s report #1, 10th March 2013

It is only five weeks since the village of Straiton, at a packed meeting in the village hall, voted unanimously to oppose five wind farm development proposals around the village and a small management committee was set up to take on the day-to-day business of mobilising that opposition. It is worth remembering what we are up against: up to 130 turbines, from 110 to over 146m in height, all of them within a few miles of the village, and the nearest just a few hundreds of yards away.

This report, the first of a series, is to tell you about our progress to date.

First, with the help of the community council, we have engaged with Kirkmichael and Crosshill, leafleted, held meetings, and raised awareness that this campaign, although it wants to “save Straiton”, also very much wants to join forces with the other villages around and about the Girvan valley which are also at risk from the biggest destructive change that has ever occurred to their landscape in their centuries-old history.

The campaign group was set up to develop long-term strategies and day-to-day responses to best oppose the wind farm plans. These we have begun to implement. Save Straiton For Scotland has been set up as a limited company, which both protects the individual members of the campaign group and allows for the proper auditing of company bank accounts. Thanks to our treasurer, Andy Sinclair, for this. Fundraising remains a priority. The committee meets weekly: our agenda, minutes and correspondence are managed by Eoghan Baird, our committee secretary and I thank Eoghan for his crucial role in ensuring our actions are transparent and that we remain accountable.

Communication is also at the heart of our approach: we have set up a website, facebook and twitter pages, published the first of a series of newsletters, and put up a noticeboard in the village. The website and facebook pages have already attracted many views, hits and likes! – and they will continue to evolve and put up news and views in response to developments. Many thanks to Gareth Bailey, Lala Burchall-Nolan, Peter Hadden, Bea Holden,  and Jonathan Meuli for their help with these various and vital high-tec and low-tec media outlets.

We have also felt that is vital to engage with and lobby all levels of both Scottish and UK governments from the national to the local, and we have arranged for politicians and representatives to visit the village so that they can see the situation at first hand. Visits so far include Adam Ingram MSP, Struan Stevenson MEP, councillors Brian Connolly and William Grant. Of course, some of these politicians support wind-farm development in principal, but all have so far agreed that the proposed over-development around Straiton would be completely inappropriate. Visits planned in the near future include Sandra Osborne MP, Graeme Pearson MSP with Development Officer John McKenzie, councillor Bill Grant and Chic Brodie MSP.

We will also add to the list in future months. I have engaged with the First Minister directly on specific concerns and have been advised  he  will reply.

We have also succeeded in gaining useful press coverage of our campaign. There have been articles – including full-page colour spreads – in the Herald, the Carrick Gazette, the Ayrshire Post, the Scottish Daily Mail, and we are expecting another shortly in the Daily Telegraph. Also helping to raise awareness – an interview on Wind-wise radio, and a petition – online and paper versions available – don’t forget to sign!

It is also important to keep our lines of communication open with the developers and so I have contacted all five companies involved to explain who we are, what we are about, and why we are opposing the proposed turbines. I have so far met with WilloWind, PNE Energy, and nPower, and meetings with the others will follow.

It is also vital that we make connections between our campaign and others which are ongoing, especially those near us in South and East Ayrshire. For example, we are co-ordinating with Mark Gibson at Craigengillan, near Dalmellington, to share ideas and talk through a joint approach where and when appropriate.

Whirly Marshall our Planning Lead, has processed pages and pages of the detailed information which we need to articulate our opposition, and I would like to thank her for her detailed and time-consuming work which will be vital to our success. She and I will be meeting in the next few days with South Ayrshire Planning, in order to discuss the planning process at local level. Also this week we will meeting with and engaging three professional consultants who have successfully helped other Scottish campaigns. The assistance of professionals (experts in planning, landscape and noise issues) is an essential part of our long-term strategy, and the principal reason for our fund-raising.

The first of the proposed windfarms to come before South Ayrshire Planning, we believe, will be WilloWind’s Linfairn proposal. We won’t know the date in advance, but we do know that it will be soon. When this arrives, we have a short window of only 28 days to make our objections. For this reason we are going to focus totally on the Linfairn proposal over the next few weeks. When the other wind farms come before the planning authorities, we will concentrate on them in their turn.

We also have to remember that all of the five proposed wind farms are large – all over 50Mw, and so the developers have the right to appeal directly to the Scottish Government, even if the proposal is rejected by South Ayrshire. So if South Ayrshire reject the WilloWind / Linfairn proposal, as we hope they will, we may still have to continue out opposition all the way to the Scottish Government.

We completely reject the plans for the Linfairn wind farm. We believe it is totally inappropriate for its Intimate River Valley setting, too close to housing, too damaging to wildlife and forestry, too close to established core paths and tourist businesses, too close to the Dark Sky Park. These and other reasons will be listed online and we would encourage all our supporters to get ready for our fast-approaching 28 day objections-window. We will tell you when the 28-day countdown begins, what this means and what we have to do make our objections.

For those without computers, letter-writing workshops are being held. The first is at The Buck on Friday 15th March between 3pm and 5pm. Addresses and email addresses of MPs, Councillors, MSPs etc will be provided along with a printer if you have a laptop, paper and pens if not. If you want help with your letter it will be provided. Sandra Osborne, MP will be visiting so if you are intending to write to her you can save a stamp! If the McCandlish Hall is free we’ll hold another session on Saturday 16th in the morning between 10am – 12noon.

Fund raising events will follow soon as well. Which brings me on to perhaps the most important thank you of them all: to all of you, our supporters, for your mandate, support, practical help, advice, information, encouragement, and yes – of course – money. We have raised over £9000 in only five weeks – an incredible achievement from a small community and its supporters. We will spend every penny very carefully for maximum impact and result . But we will need more to continue our work and will continue to raise funds actively.

We would very much like to have representation on the committee from both Crosshill and Kirkmichael. If you feel able to give or your time and energy in this worthy cause, please contact me direct for details!

I intend to write further reports to keep you up to date with what we have achieved and what is coming up. However, please do continue to use as your source of news, and if you have not already done so, please consider signing up to “follow” the blog via email. You’ll find the “follow” button near the top right of the Home Page of the website, just below the “monumometer”!

Thanks again for your continued support


Bill Steven


Tel. 01655 770637



Taking the Petition to Town

We set up our banner on Ayr’s High Street and in a couple of hours we had over a hundred signatures on our petition. Many people commented that they had read about our campaign in the papers and were only too pleased to sign and offer their support.

Sadly the inclement weather beat us and had to stop when it started to rain; not hard but enough to dampen our papers and threaten to wash our precious signatures away!

Sign Our Petition

You can add our name to our petition in one of two ways:


If you prefer good old-fashioned pen and paper, you can print off your own copy of the petition (click HERE to download it in PDF format): then you can sign it and return it to:

Save Straiton for Scotland
18 Main Street
South Ayrshire
KA19 7NF

But perhaps you can get some other signatures before you return it! There is space for 25 on each side.      Many thanks for your support and help!

South Ayrshire Council want your views: please oblige them!

  • South Ayrshire Council “consulting on the priorities and outcomes we believe will make a difference for you and your community over the next 3-10 years” and are holding Road Shows as part of their consultation process. The mobile trailer will be in Straiton on Tuesday 12th March between 10am and 12noon, Kirkmichael also on the 12th between 2pm and 4pm and in Crosshill on the 15th between 10am and 12noon. If you are able, please go along and let the Council know your feeling about the threat to our area by wind farm developers.
  • More information is on the Council’s website at and you can also fill in an online survey about the council’s strategic planning over the next ten years. If you go through all the pages of this survey there is opportunity in sections 11 thu’ 14 to give your views about windfarms. Please take this opportunity.
  • If you are not able to attend one of the village Road Shows, Maybole Town Hall will host an afternoon informal drop-in consultation between 4-6pm and a more structured evening event, hosted by the Council Leader and Chair of the Community Planning Partnership, Councillor Bill McIntosh, from 7-9pm, on Thursday 14th.

Re-discover Letter Writing

Two letter writing workshops are being held – the first is on Friday 15th between 3 and 5pm in The Buck. Pens, paper, addresses will be provided, along with a wee cup of tea. Sandra Osborne, MP will be visiting so, if you are intending to write to her, you can save a stamp.

Help will be on hand if you are struggling for inspiration or want your letter checked over prior to sending. The second session will be held on Saturday 16th between 10am and 12 noon in the Reading Room (TBC) of the McCandlish Hall.

PNE targets Scotland for Wind Energy – and easy permits

“PNE Wind U.K., a unit of Germany’s PNE Wind AG (PNE3), said Scotland will be its focus as it develops as much as 591 megawatts of onshore wind farms in Britain, enough to power about 260,000 homes.

All but one of its sites are in Scotland, where acquiring permits can be swifter than elsewhere, Managing Director George Mager said in a telephone interview.”

PNE is the developer of the proposed Dalmorton wind farm. See the rest of this article in Bloomberg News, here:

Councillor William Grant “Wind turbines at Linfairn and down the valley shouldn’t be built”


Local Councillor William Grant met some of the Committee and discussed the wind farm proposals which threaten Straiton. Referring to the Linfairn development which covers two sites he said “That’s the two that should be rejected”. Like Adam Ingram MSP he felt strongly that turbines “shouldn’t destroy a river valley”.
William’s ancestors came from Straiton and Dalrymple – and he grew up in Crosshill. He has many fond memories of enjoying the countryside in the upper Girvan valley and knows the importance this beautiful area has to those who live here. And the importance it has to the wider area; many people from the towns and cities come out to this area to enjoy the peace and quiet and take in the spectacular scenery.
Visits from Sandra Osborne MP and Graeme Pearson MSP are planned in the near future.

Tourism in Straiton

Ever heard of Geo-caching? You have now. Sara Rowden has researched some of the outdoor tourism that goes on in Straiton and the surrounding area, and the effects that 130 turbines are likely to have on it. Read her article at

And Geo-caching? Well, it’s a sort of treasure hunting-ish sort of orienteering-ish sort of … Read the article and find out!