Many thanks to MEP Struan Stevenson who has sent in his objection to Linfairn Wind Farm, the first of our representatives to do so. Watch his latest video about wind energy.
Many thanks to MEP Struan Stevenson who has sent in his objection to Linfairn Wind Farm, the first of our representatives to do so. Watch his latest video about wind energy.
Since posting about last night about the single turbine at Glenauchie, the South Ayrshire website seems to have been having problems. I am sure it will be sorted out, but if you wish to comment on the application in the meanwhile, you can of course email them at:
Proposed Wind Turbine at Glenauchie – Erection of wind turbine, ancillary infrastructure and formation of associated access track
You could mark it to the attention of the case officer, Austin Cooke
Or you could write to
The Planning Service,
South Ayrshire Council,
Burns Statue Square,
Ayr KA7 1UT
An application for a single turbine has been made to South Ayrshire Council at Glenauchie in the upper Girvan valley. A single turbine might seem small beer compared with the Linfairn wind farm proposal: however the fact remains that the proposed Glenauchie turbine is 77m high – which is 253 feet, and so it far exceeds the height limits set by South Ayrshire’s own guidelines. It would be easy, but wrong, to ignore the Glenauchie application simply because it is in the shadow of the Linfairn application. It would set a precedent for developers to try bypass the planning guidelines which exist.
In the South Ayrshire Landscape Wind Energy Capacity Study of July 2013, it states on page 58 (guidance for Intimate Pastoral Valleys), that: “The assessment found no scope for the large and medium typologies (turbines >50m) to be accommodated within the Intimate Pastoral Valley (13) landscape character type.” The study recommends that there would be very limited scope for single turbines at the lower end of the 30-50m range in this landscape context – i.e. less than half the height of the turbine being proposed. (Click here to download the report in PDF form)
At SaveStraiton, we agree strongly with South Ayrshire’s own view that large industrial turbines are unsuitable in this intimate valley context. It would be very good if any objections to the Glenauchie turbine could be made AS SOON AS POSSIBLE on the South Ayrshire planning website: CLICK HERE TO MAKE YOUR COMMENT
The closing date is officially past, but comments are still being accepted.
You could also point out the turbine’s proximity to the designed landscape of Craigengillan estate, and its proximity to the Galloway Forest Park, the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park and to the Galloway and South Ayrshire Biosphere.
Well folks, you may well now have digested some of the hair-raising Linfairn Windfarm planning documentation, seen the recent articles in the local papers, posed for the obligatory ‘horrified residents’ photo call, and received the SSfS newsletter. It’s been a busy week!
Despite developers having years to prepare their documents, the good old public only have a 28 day window to respond. In our case, we have until the 11th November 2013. To make it as easy as possible for people to make their feelings known on this proposal we have prepared a How To Object page for you.
The good news, is that Investment Bank led, Willowind (who perhaps opted for the ‘budget’ package from their energy consultants SgurrEnergy..?), have made the initial stages of the objection process very easy for us! As well as being littered with errors, omissions, contradiction, and arrogant assumption, they have admitted time and again how many guidelines and planning policies they contravene, and how ‘significantly adverse‘ this proposal is particularly within 10 km of the site (of course, it’s all for the greater good so they also admit they don’t really care). Here is a tiny taster of some of the gems in there:
These are just some general issues, there are in truth many more. Several people have raised points with us and along with some of our own we have put them together with some information on how to object. We only have one shot at this, so please make sure your voice is heard!
Our latest newsletter is packed with information about Linfairn with maps showing the location, a description of the access route and how this project will affect one of the most beautiful areas in south west Scotland. To download your copy click here.
If any of our local supporters can come at short notice, it would be great to have as many of you as possible join us at the Buck, in Straiton, tomorrow (Sat 5th October) at 12:30pm for a photo with the Ayr Advertiser and Carrick Herald who are running a story on our campaign next week. SSfS has already had some press attention from the Ayrshire Post this week, after Bill Steven told it like it is, in response to Willowind lodging their Section 36 planning application for Linfairn Windfarm. .. ‘Their community engagement has been pathetic, with absolutely no contact made with the many people who will be directly impacted by this windfarm‘…You can read the full article here.
Straiton residents (or ‘receptors’ as we are known, now we are in the planning system) should have received their leaflet yesterday from Willowind – telling us everything that we expected them to. That they were submitting their vastly scaled back plans to the Scottish Government on Friday (27th September), and of course how busy they have been working so so closely with the community over the last 8 months…
So what’s new?
An initial glance at the planning submission does not show any major changes to the 25 turbines that were in the initial scoping report. There is a new mist free version of the below photomontage taken from the Craigengower Monument, with no trees or hills in the way to detract from the true impact of both of the Linfairn sites. Thousands of tourists a year driving through the upper Girvan Valley into the Galloway Forest Park and beyond will now surely be pleasantly distracted from that long boring journey as they gaze at the 126.5m structures almost toppling over the Inner Genoch Hill…
The Westerly Linfairn site (on the Dyke / Knockgardner side of the hill) looks equally tragic. If you happen to be standing on top of the Craigengower Hill looking West, you may soon be able to marvel at how the giant metal structures in the foreground draw your eye away from that ugly rock on the horizon that we have come to know as Ailsa Craig..
To allow our supporters to make an informed decision about the Linfairn Windfarm, we have uploaded all the documentation to the SSfS website for you. you can find this here.
We are also preparing a ‘how to object’ page with some key topics and templates which you should get details of later this week. There will also be a leaflet delivered locally, explaining the process, key dates and next steps. There is no need to panic – we have until the 8th November, our team of experts already have the documentation, and there are already several pages of objection points written based on the small amount of information we have looked at so far – so don’t worry – there will be plenty to go around!
In all, our applicants have not failed to disappoint in the tone and quality of their submission, and as such we are going to be busy articulating all the issues we have found to date. Please in the meantime be patient, but be ready to act when the time comes! If you are reading through the documents and find any errors or inconsistencies please do let us know and we will add them to the list!
Well folks, at last, our investment bank led developers, Willowind, have finally confirmed through the Carrick Gazette that they will be submitting their Linfairn Windfarm planning documents to the Scottish Government, Energy Consents Unit this Friday (27th September). The full article can be viewed here.
It has been a busy 8 months for them, sorting out their ‘single site’ access route, and liaising closely with the local community in order to revise the plans (which still appear to contain the 25 turbines cited in their initial scoping documents). Martin Davie from the Willowind project team commented on how it is ‘…especially pleasing to have had such active involvement from local people in getting the plans to the application stage – we’ve gone to great lengths to respond to the issues raised with us about this development, and have included a number of measures in our application which we believe fully address them.’ At SSfS we very much look forward to seeing the revised plans and preparing our responses to these.
In the meantime, please keep an eye out for further posts regarding next steps. As per the presentation last week, we will be preparing letters and templates to help people with their objections. The final objection date is the 11th November 2013. Planning application documents will be available for public viewing at South Ayrshire Council planning office and Maybole Library.
Please also feel free to leave a comment on this post if you have been party to any of the mystery communications with Willowind that have addressed your concerns, and that you would like us to consider when preparing our own submissions.
Another great turnout on Wednesday night for the Linfairn windfarm information evening. A packed hall with an extremely positive and energetic presentation led by our Chairman, Bill Steven! A few people let us know they would not be able to make it along, so we have put a copy of the presentation online. to access this and remind yourself how far we have come please click here.
Most people at the meeting were able to sign an objection letter for the massive South Kyle Windfarm near Dalmellington. Anyone who didn’t get a chance can now object online (it’s really simple – you only need to complete your name and address in order to do this). It would be great to show support for our neighbours over the hill who, like us are getting swamped with applications.
Finally, following some discussion on the night, we have posted the SNH / South Ayrshire Council Landscape Wind Capacity Study. This is a key document, which couldn’t have come at a better time for us so it is well worth taking a look as it will certainly form one part of our upcoming objection. To help you find the relevant section, Linfairm windfarm is proposed on the following landscape types:
CHARACTER TYPE 13: INTIMATE PASTORAL VALLEYS: Within the Water of Girvan Valley, ‘the assessment found no scope for the large and medium typologies (turbines>50m) to be accommodated’
CHARACTER TYPE 17C: FOOTHILLS WITH FOREST AND WIND FARM: ‘There is very limited scope for the large typology (turbines >70m) to be accommodated within this landscape. Turbines should be well set back from the more sensitive outer edge of these foothills to avoid significant impact on the ‘landmark’ hills’ (eg Genoch inner hill) ‘…which form highly visible containing edges to the smaller-scale settled Stinchar and Girvan Water valleys’.
Thanks again for all your support! As always, let us know if you have any questions, and keep looking out for further information and dates regarding the Linfairn windfarm application.
A recent report by the Scottish Daily Express exposes the fact that thousands of pounds was wiped off the value of a property due to the close proximity of a turbine. Probably something we all suspected would be the case but has always been hotly denied by the renewables industry. To read the whole article click here.
Reported in the Telegraph at the end of August was an article about how the UN had ruled in favour of Christine Metcalf that the UK Government had acted illegally by denying the public decision-making powers over the approval of wind farms.
It went on to state “The United Nations Economic Commission Europe declared that the UK flouted Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention, which states that citizens must be allowed to fully participate in environmental issues.
It also criticised the UK’s failure to give people the “necessary information” about the benefits or negative impacts of turbines in a ruling that could call into question the legal validity of future wind farms unless Government policy is changed.
Mrs Metcalfe took her case to the UN in Geneva, Switzerland after becoming increasingly frustrated when trying to access information about a wind farm built near her Taynuilt home. The community councillor argued that the UK’s renewables policies had been drawn up in such a way that it denied the public the right to be informed. She claimed this prevented people from learning of the negative effects that wind power can have on health, the environment and the economy.”
In view of this it might well be worth mentioning the Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention in any letters of objection.
Tune in to Radio Scotland tomorrow morning for an interesting debate. Kaye Adams asks ‘if you are ready for more wind farms’. This is in response to the recently published Audit Scotland report which suggests Renewable power “needs to double” to meet the 2020 targets. She will be joined by the Energy Minister Fergus Ewing. Scotland against Spin Chairman Graham Lang is also on call as is Scottish Tory Energy spokesman Murdo Fraser.
You may have been wondering about the progress of Linfairn Windfarm given that considerable time has passed since the public exhibition was held back in January. At that point we were told final plans would be submitted around March 2013.
The SSfS committee have been trying to contact the developers (Willowind) to pin down more detail regarding progress and timescales. Last week, and thanks to Chic Brodie MSP, who has been liaising closely with SSfS, a meeting was held with Willowind. Our Chairman Bill Steven was allowed to attend with one other committee member.
Below are the key dates which came out of the meeting. These are subject to change however, we wanted to share with you all as soon as possible and prepare everyone for the next steps.
Friday 6th September 2013
As this is a Section 36 (over 50 MW) application, Willowind plan to submit their application to the Energy Consents Unit part of the Scottish Government.
Willowind also plan to give a full copy of their application documents to South Ayrshire Council, SSfS, and Maybole Library.
Saturday 7th September / Sunday 8th September 2013
Willowind to arrange for hand delivered leaflets to all local addresses (and email addresses) outlining the progress they have made over the last few months through ‘listening’ to local concerns and updating their plans accordingly ready for the next steps. Unlike other developers in the area, Willowind do not intend to hold a further public meeting to discuss any changes. However it is understood the 25 turbines still remain.
Tuesday 10th September / Wednesday 11th September
1st round of adverts will be submitted to the Glasgow Herald and Edinburgh Gazette / Ayrshire Post.
Tuesday 17th September / Wednesday 18th September
2nd round of adverts will be submitted to the Edinburgh Gazette / Ayrshire Post.
Monday 21st October
Last date for public objections.
Monday 20th January 2014
Final date for South Ayrshire Council response – note it is very likely this will be delayed.
There is going to be a lot of activity of the next few weeks, and we are all going to have to part to play in this. SSfS cannot do this without your support, so are holding a public meeting on Wednesday 11th September at 7:30 pm in the McCandlish Hall, Straiton. SSfS will take you through the plans for the coming weeks and give you an opportunity to ask any questions and highlight any concerns. If you are from the local area and support our cause, please make every effort to be there.
Despite the showers around a hundred folk attended a barbecue at Dalmorton House most of whom had strolled up from Straiton through Bennan Woods. Pictures of the proposed wind turbines were on show to demonstrate just what the devastating impact the turbines would have on views from this walk. A delicious lunch which included a whole roast lamb greeted the walkers with beer and wine to quench their thirst.
Our thanks to all those who helped organise the Stroll and to Whirly and Jock Marshall and family for their kind hospitality. Although not a fund-raising event over £600 was contributed to campaign funds.
A good article in the Ayrshire Post this week highlights our first Save Straiton for Scotland ‘success’ at Loch Bradan. Well done everyone! Hopefully there will be several more to follow over the course of this campaign.
Unfortunately the article isn’t available online yet but if you don’t have the paper – you should be able to read the article if you click on the picture to the left – you may have to magnify it slightly if your eyesight is anything like mine!
Anybody who has been trying to access the South Ayrshire Planning link to the single turbine proposed at Loch Bradan, may have noticed that as of Monday (29th July) it was not possible to leave comments, and the status had been changed to ‘Application Withdrawn’. Our Chairman, Bill Steven, followed up with Scottish Water who have responded with the following:
“Scottish Water will be looking to resubmit our planning application for a wind turbine on this site as we are looking to develop wind power here to help reduce our energy costs. The resubmission is due to the fact that we have looked at reducing the visual impact on the surrounding area and this will be presented to Ayrshire Council in the near future.”
Given this, we can only assume that perhaps Scottish Water underestimated the overwhelming strength of feeling our community and visitors to the area have with regards to protecting this unique and beautiful landscape. There were already 123 objections which had made it to the South Ayrshire Planning department, including a 12 page letter from the committee at SSfS, and there were still many more in the pipeline. Thank you to everyone who took the time to make their feelings known!
Bearing in mind there will be a resubmission from Scottish Water, you (and they) can be assured it will be getting the same level of scrutiny from SSfS, as ‘Visual Impact’ was only one of many issues raised with regards to this application. We will keep you posted of any developments, and as always, please let us know if you have any questions or comments regarding this issue.
Over the last few months support for the campaign to protect this beautiful part of the country from inappropriate development has come from far and wide. Here is an extract from a letter from Andrew Poole and family from Liverpool who were visiting the Galloway Forest Park and Straiton.
“After experiencing not only the village itself, but the surrounding environment and wild countryside, and then learning about the possible coming destruction and negative impact on the area, how could we not support the campaign? Though only a few, we readily signed the petition that was available within The Buck teashop.
Upon our arrival home to Liverpool, even after a wonderful week of camping with many stories to share, it was the people of Straiton and your current situation that we spoke about the most. Not only was the destruction of the natural environment, or the possible negative impact on the local economy, a concern for those that we had informed, but also the total disregard for Straiton’s personal freedom to enjoy your homes, land and environment the way you see fit. This issue alone was enough to spur even supporters of wind farming on to support your cause.”
Enclosed with the letter was a further 51 signatures on our petition which the Poole family had gathered upon their return.
* Important reminder … for anyone who is free tomorrow (24th July), there is a meeting in Dalmellington Community Centre at 10.00am where a Reporter will be present to hear evidence for and against a proposal to erect 8 turbines at Chalmerston. Last January it was recommended for refusal by East Ayrshire Planning Department. The developers however, have appealed against the decision. It would be fantastic if as many people as possible can turn up and show support for our neighbours in Dalmellington who overwhelmingly oppose this development. If you are able to attend – please arrive a bit earlier as as there is likely to be some TV and press attention and a good turnout always attracts interest.
With the end of July deadline looming for objections to the proposed Loch Bradan turbine, it is worth considering that there are good news stories out there and that every objection really does count!
A 5 turbine wind farm near the Cheviot Hills which received over 1000 objections has been thrown out by the Scottish Borders Council. The full story can be found here.
One of the grounds given for refusal was that: ‘The proposal would have a significantly adverse landscape and visual impact .. in ..a landscape that is currently unaffected by this type of development …‘. To anyone who has been to the tranquil and unspoilt area of Loch Bradan this statement will ring so true. Hopefully our council planning department will agree.
If there is anyone who is considering objecting to the Loch Bradan turbine, but perhaps feels it won’t make a difference, then the story above may provide some confidence, that even for smaller developments, this is not necessarily the case. For those who have objected – thank you for your support in helping to protect this cherished landscape. As a reminder, details on how to object can be found below:
Note: One letter = one objection regardless of how many people sign it, so, where possible don’t forget to submit multiple objections per household.
An article in the Daily Mail reveals that there are “Thousands of dirty diesel generators are being secretly prepared all over Britain to provide emergency back-up to prevent the National Grid collapsing when wind power fails.
And under the hugely costly scheme, the National Grid is set to pay up to 12 times the normal wholesale market rate for the electricity they generate.”
An article in the Carrick Gazette describes the importance of the recent ruling by the European Court of Justice in upholding a submission brought by European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW).
“The Commission has failed to conduct technical studies calculating how many tonnes of fossil fuels will really be saved by the hundreds of thousands of wind turbines it wants to force onto rural populations and on avian and marine life. “As it turns out, various independent engineers estimate there will be no savings at all, so the people are more than justified to seek redress,” says Mark Duchamp, the conservationist who runs EPAW.
Read the full article here, it is not long and well worth it.
Thank you all once again for your continued support and Happy Objecting!
A report written by John Mayhew for the Scottish Campaign for National Parks (SCNP) calls for the creation of seven new parks; including one which would cover parts of Galloway and South Ayrshire. To downlload the report click here.
He states ” Any National Park in Galloway would preferably bring together the three National Scenic Areas (NSAs), and could also incorporate an additional marine component in the Solway Firth. The three NSAs feature a rich variety of dynamic coastal scenery, including extensive estuaries and mudflats, with views south to the Cumbrian fells. There is a gradual transition from the coastline through a well-wooded farming landscape with many traditional features including fields, dykes and hedges to the upland haills. The National Forest Park includes the Merrick, the highest mountain in Southern Scotland, and has more recently acquired reputations for mountain biking trails and for the quality of stargazing allowed by its dark skies. This diversity makes Galloway an outstanding example of the type of fine landscapes Scotland has to offer beyond its classic and best-known Highland scenery. Parts of this area overlap with the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere reserve and with the Galloway Dark Sky Park.”
The map here shows the location of the seven proposed National Parks.
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.
Around 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.
The latest campaign newsletter has gone to press! As usual, those living locally can expect to receive a copy through their door. For those living further afield please download your copy here.
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.
A 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.
Scottish Wild Land Group
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.
John Milne, Co-ordinator of the Scottish Wild Land Group: Tel.: 07933 312811, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Calum Brown, Editor Wild Land News: Tel.: 07960 143974, Email: email@example.com
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.