Letters: Planners in denial about wind farms

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FERGUS Ewing, the minister for energy (Letters, 17 April) suggested that unacceptable impacts on local communities of wind turbines are avoided by the current planning policy framework.

This has most definitely proved not to be the case at Clatto Hill in Fife. Here councillors in three separate committees gave two proposals the thumbs down, despite planning officer recommendations for approval.

Senior planning officials are in denial about the visual impacts on local communities, despite policy imperatives to consider them.

While Fife councillors have seen through this, applicants can appeal over their heads to a Scottish Government civil servant.

More than a month ago, our group wrote to the minister at length asking him to review the very claims he continues to make and repeats in his letter. They are so much at variance with the reality faced by our community and continuing to be faced by others in Fife.

Planning policy gives an impression of fairness and balance, but the reality of the whole process is far from that. The minister is running the serious risk of his renewable energy policies being thoroughly discredited by the current realities and what seems so far to be his unwillingness to review the situation.

Greg Brown

Clatto Landscape Protection Group

Clatto Farm

Cupar, Fife

The unfortunate people living near Toddleburn and Longpark wind farms in the Borders will no doubt be greatly cheered by energy minister Fergus Ewing’s assurances of his concern for “local amenity” in the siting of wind farms.

The fact that they can no longer use their gardens nor sleep with their windows open due to the noise from these power stations within a kilometer of their homes is presumably acceptable to Mr Ewing, whom I understand does not himself live anywhere near a wind farm. (Nor, as far as I can ascertain, does any other Holyrood minister.)

Both of these developments were turned down by locally elected councillors, only to have their decision overturned by the Holyrood government, a quite regular occurrence for wind developments.

I wonder if Mr Ewing, or Mr Salmond for that matter, has ever spoken to anyone who has been forced to live next to one of these so-called “green” horrors?

I suspect, discretion being the better part of valour for politicians, that they have taken good care not to do so.

Jack W Ponton


Earlston, Berwickshire

In view of the fact that we obviously have the minister’s attention may I offer him another quote, this time from WH Murray, the Scottish mountaineer, author and world traveller: “The Scottish Highlands have no counterpart on this planet… comparisons fail to survive even brief examination…

“The outstanding beauty of the Highland scene has been haphazardly expended and no account kept. Are Scots so blind that they cannot prize it for its own sake?”

These words were written nearly 50 years ago.

I cannot but help thinking of the soulless housing schemes of the 1950s and 60s, the ghastly low-rise and high-rise blocks in Glasgow and our other cities and the dreadful consequences for the residents.

Now our politicians are turning their attention to the industrialisation of the countryside. I think the same political psychology is operating: the need for memorials on more and more hilltops no matter the damage that is done to our nation’s landscapes and our wellbeing. There is no other technical nor economic explanation.

John Milne

Ardgowan Drive

Uddingston North Lanarkshire