I wish to make your readers aware of yet another example of the lengths to which wind-farm developers will go in order to ensure they achieve a positive outcome to their controversial plans.
Last Friday morning, on leaving the foyer of Tesco in Wick, I was buttonholed by one of the two men behind a stall set up outside the shop. “Good morning, madam. Will you sign our petition in support of the Dunbeath wind farm?” I was asked. A little taken aback – you just don’t expect this sort of question on leaving your local shop – I soon came to my senses and very politely told him I was absolutely against it, etc., etc., and scooted off with my trolley to the car. I have since heard that the next day they had set up their stall in the precinct in Thurso. Now I am sure they will have managed to get many people to sign their petition. How much these people were actually told about the facts of the matter is another question.
But this is nothing new. Back in the summer the same ploy was undertaken by the developers of the proposed Spittal Hill and Baillie wind farms. They got a group called the Sustainable Energy Alliance to do their work for them, but they didn’t just stop at Wick and Thurso – oh no, they also went to Inverness city centre and persuaded all and sundry to sign letters of support for their wind farms. There is now a list of over 800 supporters of the Spittal and Baillie developments at the Energy Consents Unit in Glasgow; the vast majority of the signatories do not even live in Caithness, let alone in the communities that will be most affected by these developments. You would hope that the local communities’ feelings would be of the utmost importance in the decision-making process, as has been expounded by the Scottish Government on a number of occasions, but who can tell? Spittal/Baillie developers and now Dunbeath developers obviously believe their lists of names from far and wide will help their cases, or else they wouldn’t have done it.
If you too are incensed that this type of petition may well sway the decision on something as controversial and destructive in your local area as these industrial developments, you still have time to let your views be known.
If you have not already done so, go to www.spittalwindfarmopposition.co.uk or www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk where there are online objection facilities or forms for printing and posting for not only the Spittal and Baillie wind farms but for other wind-farm proposals for Caithness and north Sutherland. You can also write to the Scottish Government, Energy Consents Unit, 2nd Floor, Meridian Court, 5 Cadogan Street, Glasgow G2 6AT, and the Director of Planning and Development, Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX.
Local opposition is the strongest weapon against these developments – please lodge your objections now and do not let this type of tactic win the day. You can make a difference.
Denise Brown, Upper Larel, Halkirk
2 November 2007