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Turbine talks in the wind  

Selkirk folk will have the chance to have their say on controversial plans for a community windfarm on Peat Law at a public meeting on Thursday, August 16.

Organised by Dr Lindsay Neil, right, chair of both the community council and the Selkirk Regeneration Group (SRG), it will take place in the Victoria Hall at 7pm.

The speakers will include Kevin Dickson, of the Highland and Islands Community Energy Company, who will give an insight into the Gigha three-turbine facility and the other 30 community windfarms currently being progressed in northern Scotland.

Dr Neil says the meeting will “inform and answer questions” on the possible windfarm and “gauge the desire among the Selkirk community to go to the second stage (a feasibility study] of information gathering, before any decisions to go ahead and seek the necessary permissions can be taken”.

But he has this week been forced to defend his decision to commission, on behalf of the SRG, a preliminary report into the possibility of siting a windfarm on the town’s common land.

He claims he had executive powers as SRG chairman to order the £1,000 study – underwritten by an external grant – from consultants Entec who selected the North Common on Linglie Farm as the preferred site for a three or four-turbine development.

Cash boost for the common good

It was intimated in the report that income from the sale of electricity to the national grid could be as high as £1.75million a year.

“Surely any group concerned with town regeneration has a duty to consider how to maximise income from Common Good assets,” said Dr Neil.

A letter of dissent from Ex-Provost Johnny Thomson appears on page four, and this week Peter Field, secretary of the SRG, claimed no-one else on the group wanted to take the proposal any further.

“We have washed our hands of the whole crazy idea which is a recipe for community discord and fracture,” said Mr Field.

He told The Wee Paper: “Few people take a neutral stance on windfarms with strong, almost religious fervour both for and against. Such polarisation in our community is harmful and, once established, hard to reverse.

“To consider placing turbines in Selkirk’s own backyard beggars belief.

“Visually, they would have a serious impact on the town’s historic, cultural and recreational facilities and would sorely damage the very landscape Souters cherish.

“It is what brings incomers to the area and attracts visitors from all over the world.”

Mr Neil said he welcomed “reasoned and informed comment” on the windfarm proposal from any quarter.

“Everyone will be allowed to have their say at the meeting,” he added.

Selkirk Evening Advertiser

19 July 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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