Far from being “absurd” (Perspective, 12 April), Murdo Fraser’s contention is absolutely correct: Scotland’s legendary landscape is suffering from an onslaught that is wrecking its beauty and which, if allowed to continue, will mean that Scotland can be described as “bonnie” no more.
There is a special quality about the beauty of Scotland that is found nowhere else and which has fired the patriotism of every true Scot in history. Shame on you for encouraging the destruction of that scenery.
It is precisely because a “remote autocracy is decreeing the construction of wind farms regardless of local opinion” that so many of us Scots are outraged by what is happening. Every application is indeed “subject to due planning and democratic process”, and when that has taken place, and the properly constituted planning authority has rejected the application, the minister responsible in this so-called Scottish Government has in the great majority of cases overturned that rejection and given the go-ahead for the wind farm and, therefore, the further destruction of the scenery.
That process is not open; it a denial of democracy. The call for a moratorium on further onshore wind by community councils, expressing the will of the people, in Fife and Dumfries and Galloway has been wholly ignored by the government.
As for your attempted justification of onshore wind, everyone who is not personally profiting from the process would say that its contribution of around 5 per cent, and never more than 10 per cent, is useless. It is also extremely expensive. It is also the very reverse of “green”; the degree of destruction involved in the process of erecting a single wind turbine is very significant.
What is absurd is the vain hope that “wind will be an increasingly important part of the economy, and a useful export for us”.
Your leader, entitled “No need for a national debate on wind farms”, is not just misleading, it is totally wrong. Murdo Fraser is reflecting the interests and serious anxieties of his constituents and a vast proportion of the other rural inhabitants of Scotland.
Your leader writer obviously has not read your newspaper on 25 and 26 March when it was reported that 63 of the 90 Community councils in Dumfries and Galloway had signed a letter to the local council and to the Scottish Government asking for a moratorium on future planning applications for wind farms. This would enable the community councils and the Dumfries and Galloway Council to assess the feasibility and desirability of each project, properly reflecting the wishes of local people before making a decision.
Local communities – not only in Dumfries and Galloway – have grave concerns regarding flora, fauna, heritage sites, property values and tourism, which will be decimated if the existing proposals are agreed without proper consideration.
Tourism is essential to the local economy as, in most of the areas involved, it offers the only possible part-time as well as full-time employment.
There should be a national debate, but the decisions can only be made by those who know the areas and not by central government, which appears to be ignorant of rural matters and the areas involved.
E K F Hall
Dumfries and Galloway
I HAD to double-check it was not still 1 April when reading your editorial. Riddled with internal contradictions, misinformation and intellectual nimbyism, it cannot be taken seriously – beginning with its assertion in the heading that there is no need for a national debate on wind farms, which is almost immediately contradicted by the question in the second sentence of the first paragraph asking whether Scotland should celebrate or lament the fact that more than half of UK wind turbines have been erected in Scotland.
If this is an example of what happens to the level of information and debate when The Scotsman’s journalists leave it to the teamaker to conjure up some copy, then perhaps the last person to leave the country will not have to switch off the lights as they will already be long gone out.
Galloway Landscape And Renewable Energy
You state that renewable energy in the form of wind, wave and tidal power is the future and that the sacrifices are outweighed by the gains, but you do not provide a shred of evidence to back up your assertions.
Not one of these forms of power can ever provide a reliable base load supply of energy, which is vital for a modern economy. Wind, wave and tidal power are also extraordinarily expensive. If they were to be built on the scale necessary to have a meaningful impact on reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, then the wholesale destruction of our wild lands and wild seas would be required.
You also liken renewable energy to North Sea oil, but renewables absorb scarce resources through subsidies while oil generates wealth for the state through taxation revenues.
Renewable energy is a 21st century Darien scheme in the making, promoted by a Scottish Government that knows as much about energy supply and our beautiful countryside as the Scottish Government in 1698 knew about setting up a trading colony in South America – and we all know what the consequences for Scotland were in 1707.
Alan J Black
IT IS distressing to see a respectable newspaper publish such a partisan leader in support of the SNP’s energy policies, containing more dubious assumptions than any single response can address.
The moral objection to wind turbines is not, to my mind, their impact on the landscape, it is the damage to the lives of those who are being forced to live beside them and suffer visual intrusion (turbines move and so cannot be ignored), noise (turbines are allowed to inflict more than any other industrial installation, and in once peaceful countryside) and the resultant stress and damage to health. To say that sacrifices which these people are being forced to make are merely “regrettable” is utterly contemptible.
Further, the planning process is not the democratic procedure you claim. It is biased in favour of developers – who can employ professional support – recovering the cost from future profits, and against individuals who must spend their own time and income to defend their homes.
It is a test of a civilised government that it protects the minority who do not vote for it. This test Alex Salmond and his colleagues have failed.
Jack W Ponton