THE SNP government’s proposals to “restrict” onshore wind turbines are a cynical exercise in window dressing. The areas it proposes to protect are almost exclusively those where no-one would consider development anyway (for instance, on top of Cairn Gorm) or are already protected by existing rules and guidelines – if the latter were to be followed rather than ignored.
They completely fail to provide protection for individual rural residents who will still be threatened with sleep-destroying noise from turbines close to their homes.
This is the real damage which turbines do, and which continues to be denied by nearly all our politicians.
When the turbines are gone, replaced by more sensible technologies, our scenery will still be there for future generations to enjoy. However, the lives that have been ruined will be gone forever.
Having had extensive contact with developers of both large and small-scale wind, I have no doubt whatsover that these proposals will be quickly claimed by them as license to ravage the rest of the countryside.
Jack W Ponton
THE headline on Julia Horton’s report (1 May) about the siting of wind farms in designated wilderness areas is incompatible with the paragraph on page four which states “unless ‘any impacts on wild land can be substantially overcome by siting, design or mitigation’.” Not exactly a ban (in fact a lawyer’s pension fund, in my opinion).
I understand that around 2,000 wind turbines have been erected to date. They seem to be on the horizon no matter in which direction one looks. What will the landscape be like when the required 16,000-18,000 have been built (still requiring back-up)?
WHEN in 2008 Gordon Brown announced his aim to spend £100 billion on wind farms it was clear this Heath Robinson project had become a dangerous political delusion.
It was the silver lining of that cloudy day when all his economic chickens came home to roost that such nonsense was gradually binned everywhere, except north of the Border.
Yet even Alex Salmond now questions the dream of a “Saudi Arabia of renewables” as the fantastic cost and inefficacy of wind power makes fuel-poverty the Scottish disease.
His belated effort to limit wind-farm development close to towns and villages and bar them from national parks and designated areas of scenic beauty is certainly welcome.
But it is surely a matter of regret that he failed to find a single area of scenic beauty in Moray, Aberdeenshire, Angus, coastal Fife and East Lothian.
(Dr) John Cameron
I WOULD like to congratulate the John Muir Trust, especially Helen McDade, for its successful campaign to hopefully stop the destruction of the designated wild lands of Scotland from wind-farm development.
It has established the principle that wind farms do harm the countryside and it is only to be hoped other charities and quangos, who were established to be protectors of the countryside and our heritage follow its example and at long last seriously fight this outrageous wind-farm policy.
Historic Scotland allowed a turbine within yards of Dirleton Castle and in its report never even assessed the view from the castle where six nearby turbines are in clear sight from prominent windows and the battlements. What a spectacle for the visitors to the Open at Muirfield in August.
Of the 45 designated regions of wild land, only three are south of the Central Belt. The south of Scotland is recognised for its beautiful scenery and yet there are hundreds of applications in this area.
Well done John Muir Trust for paving the way, but there is so much more to be done to halt the destruction of so many beautiful areas of this country.
Many will welcome the Scottish Government’s recent recognition of the value and fragility of sensitive landscapes, as expressed in its planned ban on wind farms in national parks and national scenic areas (your report, 1 May).
However, this policy sits uneasily with continuing plans for a new town development of 1,500 houses, with associated roads and infrastructure, at An Camas Mor on Rothiemurchus Estate in the Cairngorms National Park.
Rothiemurchus has been described as “one of the glories of wild Scotland” by Sir David Attenborough and the proposed development site, within the National Scenic Area, is presently a sensitive undeveloped area, including regenerating Caledonian pine woods.
Valued landscapes can be degraded by many forms of intrusive development. If the Scottish Government now explicitly recognises this danger with respect to wind farms, is it not time for a rethink on this plan for a new town in the Cairngorms National Park?
NEW Scottish planning regulations designed to exclude the development of industrial wind farms in certain wild areas of Scotland will unfortunately do little to turn the tide against the relentless march of turbines.
Extraordinary damage has already been wrought as scores of wind farms litter our beauty spots, with more in the pipeline. Proposed wind-farm developments threaten some of our most iconic landscapes around Loch Ness, Loch Lomond, the Lammermuirs, the Cairngorms, the Galloway Dark Sky Park and Unesco Biosphere and throughout Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire.
With no signs that the SNP government is ready to relent on its mad dash for wind energy, we can fully expect other renowned landmarks to become saturated with industrial wind turbines as a result of this decision.
If the government really wants to effect change by using the planning process, it must do more to involve Scots across Scotland. There is no sense in making top-down planning designations if the voices of local communities are excluded.