John Milne: Wind-farm protesters deserve to be heard

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THE Scottish Wild Land Group recently issued a special edition of its Wild Land News, Wind farms gone wild: is the environmental damage justified?

Speaking as co-ordinator of the group, there are a number of things I care deeply about: justice, democracy, the impact of carbon dioxide emissions on the future of our planet and the destruction of Scotland’s wild land by the relentless march of wind turbines across it. 

So while the group’s focus remains on the protection and promotion of our wild land, we soon began to realise there are many unanswered questions relating to the cost-effectiveness of wind farming. With that came an understanding that if our suspicions are justified then our hillsides and moorlands, internationally appreciated landscapes, are being despoiled for no good reason. 

When we look upon a turbine, whether in the middle of either an iconic landscape or an already industrialised landscape, we ought to be asking ourselves – are these machines, whose cost-effectiveness in reducing CO2 is suspect, no more than devices for transferring wealth from the citizens, including the already poor, to the already rich?

The predictable response from the wind-farm lobby to that challenge is of questionable value given the scale of its vested interest in ensuring the continuation of the current subsidy regime. Equally predictable is the response from the politicians and others who have put their reputations into supporting the commercial wind farmers.

This is why the SWLG calls for the establishment of an independent energy commission.

We must learn from our mistakes. We should have listened to those who had fears about the behaviour of the banking sector. This time we must listen to those who warning of the consequences of the dash for wind.

If our fears are justified, these machines will in time be seen as no more than rusting monuments to plutocratic greed, political and environmental folly: which will result in a whole range of negative consequences including the diverting of our attention and resources away from serious attempts to combat global warming.

• John Milne is co-ordinator of Scottish Wild Land Group.

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