Objections to the Loch Bradan wind turbine

Source: neo-environmental.co.uk 13/00626/APP Photomontage 3

Source: neo-environmental.co.uk
13/00626/APP Photomontage 3

Please be aware the Save Straiton committee are preparing a ‘how to object’ page for anyone who wishes to raise concerns about  the proposed wind turbine at Loch Bradan, but may be unsure about how to go about it. This turbine is 101m to blade tip  as mentioned in a previous post  and has been described by the developers as “intentionally sited down along by the lochs shoreline..to reduce its prominence in the landscape”.  

The location is only 1 mile away from the Glenmount site, so there is a real concern that this would set a precedent for large scale wind farms and further inappropriate developments in this area.  The committee will not be using funds raised by the campaign to fight this development, but will be on hand to help out and provide information and advice to anyone who wishes to object.  Please watch this space for further information which should be available in the next couple of days.

To view details of the application, which includes photomontages, landscape and visual impact assessments, ecology and ornithology reports  please click here.

Rare bird flies into turbine on Harris

wtnAround 30 birdwatchers travelled to Harris this week to view a very rare white-throated needletail, which breeds in Asia and winters in Australasia.  One enthusiast who went to the Western Isles to view the bird told of his “dismay” after watching it fly into a wind turbine and die.  The bird has only been recorded five times in the UK since 1950.

A spokeswoman for the RSPB said: “Whilst the collision of this unusual visitor with a small domestic wind turbine is very unfortunate, incidents of this sort are really very rare. Careful choice of location and design of wind farms and turbines prevents, as much as possible, such occurrences happening on a large scale.”
To view the full article please click here.

101m high turbine at Loch Bradan?

loch-bradan2big

Scottish Water are applying for planning permission to install a 101m turbine on the shores of Loch Bradan. In the photograph above the turbine would be located just to the left of the figure next to the loch.

You can view the application details by clicking here. There are photomontages but they do not show the turbine in position, the wireframe drawing below indicates how it would appear.

If you wish to object please do so by 4th August.

loch-bradan1

Scottish Wild Land Group: Press release

wildlandA press release by the Scottish Wild Land Group for issue tomorrow has been shared by our friends at Scotland Against Spin. This focuses on the latest special edition of the Wild Land News entitled ‘Wind farms gone wild: is the environmental damage justified?’

A free PDF and online version of this issue can be found here and there are also details of how to purchase a hard copy which is probably worth doing as there is a lot of great reading in it!

The press release is detailed below.

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Scottish Wild Land Group

Press release

For release Wednesday 19 June

Wind farm developments out of control and unjustified says wild land charity

Scottish Wild Land Group calls for Independent Energy Commission and wild land designation

The Scottish Wild Land Group today published a special issue of its magazine, Wild Land News, dedicated to the issue of wind energy. The issue, ‘Wind farms gone wild: is the environmental damage justified?’, calls into question the Scottish Government’s focus on wind power as an effective method of tackling climate change. It suggests that far more needs to be done to protect Scotland’s communities, environments and landscapes from opportunistic development.

The magazine features contributions from respected scientists, naturalists and artists; a powerful consensus that wind energy policy has been inadequately justified and comprehensively mishandled. Contributors identify threats to Scotland’s internationally important wild land, protected native species, cultural heritage, community cohesion, and democratic processes, and argue that wind farms make a vanishingly small contribution to the fight against climate change at best, and may even prove to be counter-productive.

The Group concludes that wind farms in Scotland will:

· Destroy much of our wild land and peatland carbon sinks along with numerous habitats and species;

· Prevent the development of alternative energy sources and investment in energy conservation;

· Impose unacceptable financial demands on those who can little afford them, especially the third of Scottish households already in fuel poverty;

· Divide communities located close to wind farms;

· Distort our resource allocation systems by channelling public money to large energy companies with subsidiaries in tax havens, who arbitrarily pass a tiny fraction on to a few communities;

· Damage Scotland’s crucial tourist industry;

· Risk our future energy security.

John Milne, Co-ordinator of the Scottish Wild Land Group, said: “We are at one with the environmentalists who believe climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity but disagree with those who claim that wind generation is even part of the answer. We believe that the scramble for wind farms is doing great damage by deluding the public into believing that a meaningful contribution is being made to a reduction in CO2 emissions. Resources and attention are being diverted away from real solutions such as appropriate transport policies and energy efficiency, conservation and alternative renewables.”

John Constable of the Renewable Energy Foundation, writing in the magazine, said: “the general public now realise that they are being asked to make economic and environmental sacrifices that are not only pointless but actually delay more constructive action. The mass deployment of existing and inadequate technologies is simply a dead end.”

Sharon Blackie, editor of EarthLines magazine, said: “if the price of our current excessive level of electricity consumption is the permanent non-renewable loss of the pitifully little that is still wild and natural in this country, then it’s too high a price to pay.”

The Scottish Wild Land Group believes that energy policy must be the subject of an urgent investigation by an independent commission, and that a robust wild land designation that respects the environmental, cultural and economic importance of Scotland’s landscapes must be introduced. It is supported in this by a number of other organisations including the John Muir Trust.

Contact details

John Milne, Co-ordinator of the Scottish Wild Land Group: Tel.: 07933 312811, Email: john.milne29@yahoo.com

Calum Brown, Editor Wild Land News: Tel.: 07960 143974, Email: calum@swlg.org.uk

Editors’ Notes

The Scottish Wild Land Group is Scotland’s oldest and only volunteer-run wild land charity. It campaigns for the protection and promotion of Scotland’s invaluable landscapes, environments and species. More details on the group’s work can be found at www.swlg.org.uk.

Knockskae page updated

Knockskae website updated

Following the Public Exhibition held by PNE Wind on Tuesday 11th June, the Knockskae planning page has been updated. This now includes links to the most up to date location map and detailed turbine layout, the Public Exhibition Boards from the meeting, PNE contact details, and the Minutes from the first Community Liaison Group (CLG) meeting held on the 13th May 2013 at The Willie Wastles Inn, Crosshill.

A Sense of Scale

Whitelee Wind Farm, 09/06/13, © J MeuliIt’s very hard to get a sense of how big the wind turbines around Straiton might be. I have uploaded to the Gallery page a series of photographs from Whitelee wind farm taken on a sunny day just a week ago. They show people, dogs (and birds) in relation to the Whitelee turbines. The Whitelee turbines now count as babies amongst wind turbines: those in this series of Whitelee photos are 110m high. Most of the turbines proposed around Straiton are around 125m, with a group (those at Keirs Hill) at 150m.

Whitelee wind farm is well worth a visit, as others have already pointed out on this website (see the opinion page): and as they have said, the extensive Fenwick moors on which Whitelee is situated have a completely different landscape quality from the variegated hills and valleys which surround Straiton.

Wind farm subsidies revealed

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Wind farm subsidies revealed

Here are links to two articles in the Telegraph about the enormous subsidies paid out to wind farm companies. The first article reveals that each job is subsidised by over £100,000 and states that “In Scotland, which has 203 onshore wind farms — more than anywhere else in the UK — just 2,235 people are directly employed to work on them despite an annual subsidy of £344million. That works out at £154,000 per job” Click here to read the full story.

The second article is concerned with government policy and how the subsidies could be axed. Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Energy Secretary, is expected to announce details of subsidies for renewable energy in the next few weeks. The article mentions “Mr Osborne is understood to be pressing Mr Davey for onshore subsidy cuts of around 25 per cent for that period. However, the words from Mr Letwin, who is a key Conservative policy guru, go much further in strongly suggesting the entire subsidy regime will be history by 2020.”

Read the full story here.

Straiton’s View: 92.5% oppose Wind Farm proposals

Straiton from Dyke roadDuring May 2013, we asked for the opinion of all residents of the Parish of Straiton aged 16 and over about the five wind farms which are planned near the village.

163 people returned the form

These are the results:

Question 1:

1 Support all five wind farms

9

5.5%

2 Oppose all five wind farms

151

92.5%

3 Support some wind farms and object to others

2

1.5%

4 Don’t know

1

0.5%

(percentages to the nearest 0.5%)

Question 2 (for those who chose option 3 above):
This option was chosen by 2 respondents: both were in support of Glenmount, were opposed to Linfairn and Knockskae and were neutral on Keirs Hill and Dersalloch.

Note on the poll: As far as we are aware, everyone in the Straiton parish aged 16 and over received an opinion poll form, on which they were given the opportunity to express support or opposition or neutrality towards all five wind farms, either as a whole, or individually. Forms were hand-numbered to avoid duplication but were completely anonymous. The forms were delivered to all houses, including stakeholders in the proposed wind farms. Three households declined to accept the forms. The count was made by two community councillors. 272 individual forms were delivered. The return was 60%. The original form can be downloaded and viewed here.

Telegraph reveals Government pressure on councils to allow more turbines

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Google Earth map of Scotland showing wind farm locations using date provided by SNH. © Crown copyright and database right. 2013. All rights reserved.

Google Earth map of Scotland showing wind farm locations using date provided by SNH. © Crown copyright and database right. 2013. All rights reserved.

The lead story in today’s Telegraph reveals that the Government has been telling councils to re-write their draft local planning documents as some were deemed “too negative”. In Dumfries and Galloway, Simon Pallant, a senior Scottish Government planner, suggested areas of “limited potential” for wind farm development should be called “areas of greatest opportunity”. He also complained that some area had “potential constraints”; these included land identified by the RSPB and SNH as bird sensitivity areas and wild land around the Merrick.

Mr Hall, a Scottish Government principal planner wrote to South Ayrshire Council in February last year complaining that its draft local development plan “feels restrictive” towards turbines and urging it to act “positively” towards renewable developments.

The map shows wind farm development across Scotland based on 2012 data. Many proposed wind farms and some in scoping are not shown.
Read the full article here.

Jim Hume, MSP adds his support

Jim Hume, MSP with Jonathan Meuli, Peter Hadden and Bill Steven

Jim Hume, MSP with Jonathan Meuli, Peter Hadden and Bill Steven

Liberal Democrat MSP for the South of Scotland, Jim Hume, visited Straiton yesterday. He is pictured here by Genoch Inner Hill, just below where turbines are proposed. He was particularly concerned by the scale and number of the developments around the village.

Jim believes “Any progress in the area of wind farm developments must be tailored to fit in with the local environment to avoid any potential damaging cumulative effects. Local circumstances must be given priority when applications for wind farms are being considered. I know from talking with constituents that communities have questioned whether the current situation, which is mainly driven by developers, is truly sustainable in the long term and I believe that the Scottish Government needs to devise a proper strategy. Such a strategy could have the effect of controlling the pace and number of projects across any given area, and would create a more evenly spread distribution of developments, thereby avoiding a concentration in communities like Straiton.”

Caithness wind farm refused

Photo montage showing the proposed turbines

Photo montage showing the proposed turbines

Some good news for those who value ‘wild landscape’. Dunbeath wind farm has been refused on the grounds that “the significant adverse impacts of this proposed wind farm on nearby wild land and key landscape characteristics, in conjunction with the cumulative effect is too great” commented Fergus Ewing, Energy Secretary. He added that “Scotland has enormous potential for renewable energy that is delivering jobs and investment, and I am determined to ensure communities reap the benefit from renewable energy – but not at any cost.

Click here to read the full story which appeared in The Herald on Saturday 8th June.

Adverse health effects: Canadian doctors told to expect more cases

CFPDetails of a  recently published article in the May 2013 edition of  the ‘Canadian Family Physician’  journal have been added to the Noise and Health page. This  advises family doctors to be aware and to expect rising numbers of rural patients to present with symptoms relating to adverse effects from exposure to industrial wind turbines (IWTs). It remains to be seen whether the UK health authorities will start to take the issue more seriously.

A link to the Noise and Health page can be found here.

Minister’s stay at hotel paid for by wind company

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Minster stay at hotel paid for by wind company

Richard Lochhead and his wife had dinner and a night’s stay at the Castle Hotel in Huntly paid for by RES Ltd last June according to the register of members’ interests. A couple of months later the Government approved RES’s development for a wind farm in Wigtonshire despite it’s rejection by Dumfries and Galloway Council.
Read the full story at http://www.westsoundradio.com/news/local/minister-investigated-over-hotel-stay/#.UbDvxOr23Z0.facebook

Hadyard Hill “nightmare”

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A recent article in the Telegraph highlighted the plight of Kay and John Siddell who live near Old Dailly. They enjoyed 18 years in their retirement cottage before the wind farm was built and since then their lives have been blighted by light flicker and intolerable noise. Click here to read the full article.

Helensburgh Advertiser hosts a ‘Big Debate’ on wind farms

The six panellists on the debate were: James Fraser, chairman of Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs; Patrick Harvey, MSP, co-convener of the Scottish Green Party; Stuart McMillan, MSP representing the Scottish Government; Gordon Cowan, a founder Fintry Development Trust; Stuart Young, Caithness Windfarm Information Forum and Dr Ken Brown founder member of the new Alliance Party of Scotland.

James Fraser view is that visitors are ‘shocked and surprised’ by the number of wind farms cropping up throughout Scotland. Read the rest of the article here.

Knockskae website updated

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Knockskae website updated

Since the previous post about Knockskae and the link to a web page which did not exist. PNE Wind have rectified the problem and the link now works. The turbine location map still does not show the proposed access or tracks between turbines nor any ancillary buildings which might be required.
This beautiful shot was taken by local artist and photographer, Charlie Craig, and shows Back Fell and Knockskae Hill.

Knockskae exhibition

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Knockskae exhibition

PNE Wind UK have posted newsletters to all households in the local area with an invitation to attend the first round of their exhibitions.
Tuesday, 11th June 4pm – 8pm McCandlish Hall, Straiton
Wednesday, 12th June 4pm – 8pm Maybole Town Hall
The photograph above is of Back Fell viewed from near Tairlaw and shows how high this hill is at 428m. It is clearly visible from the M77 above Fenwick so any development would be seen from a considerable distance.
Access roads, tracks between turbines and any ancillary buildings are not shown on the map printed in the newsletter. The web address given on the newsletter for further information does not work.

New 3D model of all turbines

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New 3D model of all turbines

One of Straiton’s local residents has created a 3D model of the combined proposals that you can explore yourself. It uses Google Earth and allows you to view the proposed wind-farms from any vantage point. Google Earth is a free piece of software that works on computers and tablets, alike.
To explore the model first download Google Earth – then click here to download the proposed turbine positions. Start the Google Earth application and use the File menu to open the downloaded file.

If you don’t have access to a computer or would like a guided tour please contact us by using the email form on the Contacts page. We will arrange a time and place to show you the model.