In 2005 a study, commissioned by East Lothian Council and Scottish Natural Heritage, to assess suitable wind farm sites concluded that the “vast majority” of the East Lothian countryside was unsuitable for future schemes. In particular, it raised concerns about the visual impact of a wind farm on the site recently put forward at Aikengall, about six miles south of Dunbar.
Two years on, the planning department recommends against granting the application for a wind farm at Aikengall and the councillors of East Lothian reject their advice. But only because the convenor of the committee, Norman Hampshire, used his casting vote to push through the proposal.
He decided: “This will be good for the Lammermuirs and will be good for the global environment.” Quite how this will be good for the Lammermuirs, which is fast becoming the wind farm capital of Scotland, he didn’t explain.
If ever we needed some joined up thinking from the Scottish Executive, now is the time. I don’t deny we need renewable energy. What we need is leadership from the Executive to prevent planning anarchy from causing the ruination of our countryside.
Whitchester, by Duns
The application for planning approval made by Community Wind Power for 16 wind turbines at Aikengal coincidentally failed to mention phase 2 of the Crystal Rig wind farm development, which is situated right next door. Only a tiny lane divides the two.
Crystal Rig, including a further nine wind turbines recently mooted by the developer, will contain 86 turbines ranging up to 125 metres (400 feet) in height. The Aikengal site will now have 16 turbines, all of 125 metres each.
Surely it is wrong that the cumulative effect of these two wind farms should be left out of the evidence presented to those charged with making the final decision?
The planners were aware of the Crystal Rig situation, but it is the actions of the wind farm developer, in omitting to mention this major evidence, that is unacceptable. On those grounds alone, the whole thing should be struck out.
20 March 2007
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