At last RES have provided the missing images from the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment stating they “appear to have been omitted from some copies of the Final Environmental Statement due to an administrative error.”
This is the view from the drive up to Blairquhan, taken in the summer with trees is full leaf and with some white clouds behind the turbines. By doing this some of the turbines are hidden from view and others don’t appear as intrusive as they undoubtedly will be, especially as they will be moving feature.
The wireframe shows that all 17 turbines will be visible including 11 hubs. A startling amount when it is almost 4km away. The view from the drawing room and indeed all the rooms on the north side of this beautiful A listed castle would be significantly adversely affected.
In an excellent article in the Scottish Review by editor, Kenneth Roy, the background of WilloWind is detailed – as far as details can be ascertained from this rather secretive company as their investors prefer to remain anonymous.
“The people who do business at 30 St James’s Square, London SW1, are 350 miles from the conservation village of Straiton on the Ayrshire-Galloway border, though much further if distance can also be measured by temperament and outlook. But the worlds of corporate London and rural Scotland, which have kept to their own patches until now, can no longer avoid each other. They are engaged in a battle to decide how our countryside will look and feel – even sound – for at least the next quarter of a century.
As individuals, the people who do business at 30 St James’s Square, London SW1, keep the lowest of profiles on the internet and their company’s website is a small one – it tells us little of interest about the business and names none of the directors. It is merely ‘passionate about renewable energy’. As well it might be.
What we do know is that WilloWind Energy Ltd, though shy about itself, is far from shy about its ambitions for Straiton and the neighbouring villages of Kirkmichael and Crosshill. It proposes to build 25 wind turbines there.”
To read more click here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Photo by Chris Watt
Local communities should be able to decide whether or not they have a wind farm built in their area under this new policy. At present it would seem that these new planning proposals apply only to England and Wales. Hopefully Scotland will introduce a similar policy. Read the full article here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Internationally renowned artist, James Fullarton, has donated prints of his vibrant paintings to raise funds for the campaign. There’ll be an opportunity to buy them at the Soup & Sweet Lunch on Sunday 12th May from 1 o’ clock. (£5 adults £2.50 children).
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.”
South of Scotland MSP, Graeme Pearson (centre) and his Regional Development Officer, John McKenzie (far right), gave their support for the campaign during their visit to Straiton this morning. Graeme said “there is something special about what we’ve got here and we shouldn’t destroy it.” And about windfarms in Scotland he mentioned that “the money’s wrong, the technology’s wrong. The future for Scotland is about maintaining tourism and the environment for the future.”
He offered to ask questions in Parliament on our behalf and gave us a great deal of useful information and advice.
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!
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.
Local Councillor, Brian Connolly, also came out to Straiton today and said the “impact on the landscape was totally unacceptable” in reference to the Linfairn Wind Farm. He had never seen a proposal which would have such a huge impact on the landscape so close to a village.
Brian chatted to Bill Steven, Whirly Marshall and Andrew Sinclair, was very supportive and helpful and gave us some useful information.
Struan Stevenson MEP visited Straiton this morning and spent a couple of hours discussing the wind farm proposals and how it would affect this area. He stated that “Straiton is up there with Plockton as one of the 10 most beautiful villages in Scotland”. He mentioned other iconic Scottish places where wind turbines are threatening to encroach these include Loch Lomond, Turnberry, St Andrews and Loch Ness: “Straiton is up there – this is of national importance.” Struan also told us that Civitas, the independent think tank, reported that wind farms cost jobs in the wider economy. For every 1 ‘green’ job 3 other jobs are lost. He promised his support to our campaign.
Cartoon which appeared on the letters page of the Ayrshire Post yesterday
Article in Ayrshire Post yesterday