THE Scottish Wild Land Group welcomes Alexander Irving’s contribution to the debate on the industrialisation of our internationally recognised landscapes (Letters, 17 February), having been actively involved in the opposition to both the Stronelairg and Viking wind farms referred to in his letter.
However, there are many other wind farms awaiting approval. Recently, for instance, the RSPB has been encouraging opposition to the Strathy South wind farm being promoted by SSE which it says: “threatens the famous Flow Country peatlands… surrounded on all sides by some of the most important and highly protected wildlife habitat in Scotland.”
The Flow Country is of outstanding importance, both nationally and internationally, these peatlands being three times larger than any other in either Britain or Ireland. Its role in storing carbon dioxide is of immense importance, it being considered by some to be a northern hemisphere functional equivalent of the rainforests.
And we must not forget all the other less high-profile wind farms the planning of which are at various stages of approval and implementation, the opposition of the local people and even on occasion councils being ignored. The Scottish Wild Land Group, in agreeing with Mr Irving, maintains that there are issues of democracy here not unrelated to the protection of our wild land.
Scottish Wild Land Group
JOHN Smart (Letters 17 February) is not quite right in supposing we either have, or have in the offing, plenty of renewable energy.
What we actually have is a six-cylinder car which runs on average on two and frequently fails altogether.
If Scottish Government plans are really to have all existing electricity use plus heating and all transport running off renewable energy by 2050 that will require at least a 30 gigawatt generating and transmission capacity. Put in on-shore wind turbine terms, that’s 30,000 of the biggest ones, and still with the aforementioned problems.
Mr Smart mentions hydro, which by its nature is the only sizeable on-demand renewable. Believe it or not, we already have more than 200 hydro power stations, with a total generating capacity of a mere 1.5GW plus (about one-and-a-half small nuclear stations). I reckon that from rainfall, topography, cost and public acceptability that could only be expanded enough to replace just one of our existing nuclear power stations.
We have a problem and one which the Scottish Government must begin to address.
Dr A McCormick