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.

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.

Keirs Hill exhibition

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Keirs Hill exhibition

The exhibition was well attended with 72 signing in. The busiest section was the table with the projector and screen showing a 3D view of the turbines from any location in Straiton and surrounding area. Many people were surprised at just how visible this proposed development would be from Straiton. The turbines are clearly visible from the school, many homes around the village and from most houses on the north side of Main Street, particularly from upstairs windows. This is mainly due to the size of the proposed turbines; at a whopping 149m high the are amongst the highest on-shore turbines in the UK. One of the turbines is located a mere 300m from the road between Dalmellington and Straiton, the B741 which is used by many visitors travelling up from the south.
Unfortunately their website does not have any details of Keirs Hill yet although on the Planning page (Sclenteuch/Keirs Hill) section there is a map of the location and position of the turbines provided by RES. The map above is the same except it shows the access road.

Turbines cause 83,000 raptor deaths in USA each year

Golden Eagle Lands on Rock

Thanks to Annie Muir for her comment yesterday – she spotted an eagle whilst on the Dyke walk near Straiton (you can see her comment at the end of our wildlife page). The mortality statistics of eagles and other raptors killed by wind turbines in the USA are horrifying, according to a Guardian article: in the US, More than 573,000 birds are killed by the country’s windfarms each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles, according to an estimate published in March in the peer-reviewed Wildlife Society Bulletin. And no windfarm has yet been prosecuted. Read the article here: www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/14/us-windfarms-eagle-deaths

Please feel free to write a letter or two to the RSPB: we would love to know their views on this article.

Glenmount exhibition boards

View from the proposed Glenmount site looking south towards Derclach and Finlas Lochs

View from the proposed Glenmount site looking south towards Derclach and Finlas Lochs

For those of you who missed the exhibition in the village hall about the proposed Glenmount wind farm, the information boards from that exhibition are now available here as a PDF download: Glenmount Exhibition Boards, or from the company’s website page on Glenmount.

These are informative: they include detailed maps of the turbine placings which are currently proposed. The photomontages which we saw at the exhibition are not included.

Some good news

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Some good news

Pictured above is Aileen Jackson with Graham Lang outside the Scottish Parliament. Aileen, a retired civil servant, won a legal battle to have a 64ft turbine, located only 300 yards from her home, switched off permanently. It is the first case of its kind in Scotland with her legal fees covered by her home insurance.
The noise from the single turbine was similar to a small helicopter; Aileen and her family have suffered for almost three years are are obviously relieved it is all over. A statement from The Hastie Stable Faculty of Scottish Advocates reads “John Campbell QC was instructed to make an application to a sheriff for a noise abatement order. The Environmental Protection Act 1990, section 82, provides a little-known but simple method for members of the public to do this for themselves.”
More success came in April when the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament accepted petition PE1469 by Aileen on neighbour notification distances for wind turbine applications. You can read more about this submission by clicking here to link to SAS (Scotland Against Spin) website.

Keirs Hill Exhibition

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Keirs Hill Exhibition

RES will be holding three exhibitions next week, the first will be in Patna on the 28th, Straiton on the 29th and Dalmellington on the 30th. They will be posting out a newsletter to all households in the area but you can view the latest one by clicking here.
RES have altered their original plan which was for 33 turbines down to 17 and these will be located in the eastern section of their plan. The turbines will be up to 149m high, the turbine pictured here is 130m high (RES’ Pays de St Saine, France).

A new map showing the turbine locations is available on the Planning page click here to view it. As you will see the turbines are extremely close to the B741 between Dalmellington and Straiton. Please try to visit the exhibition and let the developers know if you have concerns about the visual impact the turbines would have to those driving towards Straiton. Some of the turbines are also extremely close to homes in Patna.

Planners told “fewer holiday makers in Carrick”

Fewer and fewer people are coming to holiday cottages in the beautiful Stinchar Valley.

And a main factor is the spread of wind turbines in South Carrick.

That’s what a rural resident told a South Ayrshire Council planning committee.

William Hair said: “Bookings are few and far between for holiday cottages – a marked contrast with years past.”

Click here to read the full story in the Ayrshire Post by Edwin Lawrence.

Wind turbine ‘support’ row

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Wind turbine 'support' row

This story appeared in the Cumnock Chronicle yesterday.

A company hoping to build a wind farm near Dalmellington have claimed that nearly half of residents in the village back their plans.

RWE npower renewables say that the findings of a survey they carried out in December last year shows that Dalmellington residents are less likely to object to wind developments than other nearby villages.

However, the village’s community council have hit back, branding the claims ‘laughable’.

Click here to read the full story.

Scotland’s wild beauty ‘being lost to turbines’

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Scotland's wild beauty 'being lost to turbines'

An article in today’s Daily Telegraph highlighting the dramatic change in Scotland’s landscape.
Man-made structures can now be seen from at least 70 per cent of Scotland, with a recent five per cent increase in the area affected by development being blamed on the spread of wind turbines.
An official report from Scottish Natural Heritage, the environment agency, found that the figure had risen from 65 per cent in 2008 to 70 per cent by 2010.
However, according to anti-wind farm campaigners, the situation may now be much worse, with one suggesting that 80 per cent of the country could soon be blighted. Click here to read the full article.

Souper douper lunch!

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Souper douper lunch!

Around 150 supporters had a splendid lunch yesterday, pictured are just a few of the delicious sweets served up after everyone had enjoyed a bowl of warming soup. After the raffle (which took quite some time due to the amount of prizes) Bill Steven gave the packed hall an update on the 5 developments and on how the campaign is progressing.
He urged everyone to go along to the Glenmount exhibition on Friday (2pm – 8pm) and express their views to RWE Renewables. If you are unable to attend the exhibition in Straiton they are having another one on Saturday 18th in Dalmellington Community Education Centre (10am – 4pm).
The lunch raised over £1,000 for the campaign but the final figure will be more. Some money is still due in from the sales of prints by James Fullarton.
A great lunch and a great boost to the funds. A big thank you to all who made it possible.

Traffic route to Glenmount

Glenmount exhibition posterAt a recent meeting between Bill Steven, Chair of Save Stration for Scotland, and RWE Renewables it was confirmed that RWE intend to reach the access road to Glenmount through the village. This could mean that not only would the actual turbines be transported through the conservation village but construction traffic as well. As yet it is not known if this traffic would come through Kirkmichael or, more likely, Crosshill.

Dates for Glenmount exhibitions

Dates for Glenmount exhibitions

RWE npower are holding an exhibition in Stration in the McCandlish Hall between 2pm and 8pm on Friday 17th May and on Saturday 18th at the Dalmellington Community Centre between 10am and 4pm.
Pictured above is Loch Finlas which the proposed wind farm will border; in the distance is Loch Doon. The developers show access to the development will come from the Newton Stewart road and, judging from the map supplied, will cut off before the bridge crossing the Girvan. How the construction traffic would get to this point is not shown.

Glenmount exhibitions planned this month in Straiton and Dalmellington

According to the Cumnock Chronicle,

“Plans for a wind farm development in south-east Ayrshire will go on display at two public exhibitions later this month. RWE npower renewables is hosting the events at venues in Damellington and Straiton to give the community a chance to find out more about their proposed development at Glenmount, three miles to the south-west of Dalmellington.”

Click here to read the whole article

 

Major change to proposed Sclenteuch wind farm by RES

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/Moorland_View_-_geograph.org.uk_-_791397.jpg

Site of the proposed Keirs Hill turbines, above the Doon valley south of Patna.
photo: Angus and Mary Hogg

Bill Steven Chairman of Save Straiton for Scotland and Whirly Marshall, Planning Lead, met with RES on Friday 3rd May to confirm the detail on major changes to the proposed Sclenteuch wind farm development. RES are proposing to reduce the number of turbines from 33 to 17 and remove all turbines from Cloncaird Moor, Sclenteuch Moor and Lamdoughty Hill. The new proposed development will concentrate around Keirs Hill in East Ayrshire. No turbines are being proposed within the South Ayrshire footprint. The wind farm will be renamed Keirs Hill and will lie 3.7 km north east of Straiton, 4.2 km north west of Dalmellington and 1km south of Patna. Access to the new proposed development will be via the A713 , Ayr to Dalmellington road and will enter the proposed site just before Waterside. We are waiting on further detail and formal confirmation from RES with regards the change and we will publish on receipt.
Consultation will continue with all communities involved including Straiton. The proposed turbines will be 149m high and RES are currently producing a 3D computer aided visualisation tool to enable individuals to have a clear picture on the impact the proposed turbines would have. With regards timescales RES will be looking to formally submit a planning application during 2013, full details will follow. This is a significant change to the original proposal, however the new proposed wind farm development from RES will remain a major concern for many people and Save Straiton for Scotland will engage with all affected communities and continue to support those communities. Save Straiton for Scotland will continue to challenge all developments around Straiton and we will continue to bring pressure on all developers to reappraise their proposals. Save Straiton for Scotland remains strong in its belief that our area must continue to say…..No To Giant Industrial Wind Turbines….regardless of the number.

Click here for a revised PDF map of all the wind farms (8.7Mb)
or here for a revised JPG map (3.5Mb)

“a step too far” says Chic Brodie MSP

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Chic Brodie, MSP for South of Scotland and a member of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee visited Straiton yesterday and met with the Save Straiton for Scotland campaign group. Bill Steven (pictured far right) explained in detail about the proposals surrounding the village. Chic expressed his concern saying “I am generally in favour of wind farms in the right place. The suggestion and proposals to surround Straiton and to ‘invade’ the valley may be a step too far. The developers, particularly those very close to the village may want to reappraise their proposals.”

The pen is mightier…

Writing letters and sending emails to politicians can really make a difference. Here are some quotes from a couple.

“Many thanks for your letter regarding the proposals for a series of wind farms near Straiton…I completely agree that these proposals must be scrapped. I agree wholeheartedly with your concerns about the separation distance between the turbines and your home. ..if you would like to provide me with more details about your individual case, then I would be delighted to write to both the local authorities and WilloWind, to urge them to consider the impacts on your property.” Struan Stevenson MEP

“…have questioned whether the current situation, which is mainly driven by developers, is truly sustainable in the long term. I do not believe that it is and Straiton is perhaps an example of that.” “…thereby avoiding a concentration in communities like Straiton. I have asked the Energy Minister to consider this on many occasions and will take this opportunity to raise this matter with him again referring to the Straiton situation.” Jim Hume MSP

Please keep writing and emailing, it works! The addresses are on the Lobby page

Ban on wind farms in scenic places?

Planning rules reform could see wind farm ban in scenic Scotland
(BBC news report)

Wind farm
The new planning approach will see changes to wind farm developments

Continue reading the main story

Related Stories

You can see the draft planning framework at www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/planning/NPF3-SPP-Review and also follow links to make your own submission.

VisitStraiton report on Tourism and Wind Farms

Busy Car Park in Straiton: Easter 2013Bea Holden and Jonathan Meuli have produced a report on Tourism and Wind Farm development in and around Straiton.

WIND FARM DEVELOPMENT & TOURISM IN STRAITON; a case-study in tourist provision for the Galloway Forest and Dark Sky Park.

It has been sent by post and email to around forty policy makers, planners and politicians, as well as colleagues, friends and interested local parties.

You can download it as a PDF from the VisitStraiton website: just click here to be redirected.

Although many of the report’s concerns about the harm posed by wind farms to tourism in Straiton overlap with those of the Save Straiton campaign, it is a personal take by the authors and they don’t claim to represent any of the other tourist businesses in Straiton. Consequently the printing and postage was privately funded by the authors and didn’t use any campaign funds.

It contains lots of interesting information about Straiton not available elsewhere and lots of nice historic quotes about how beautiful people have found our village over the centuries. Plus some good arguments about why we should preserve this beautiful landscape. We hope you find it a good read!