The planning meeting is on tuesday, at the Ross Institute in Halkirk. Arrive early 10am for the bus to tour the windfarm site. The planning authorities from Caithness and Sutherland and Highlands will be there. The proposal is by the notorious Mr. Pottinger, who has formerly applied to position a huge windfarm on Spittal Hill that would be visible for 50 miles around, from all sea approaches to the north of scotland. It would forever change the character of the north caithness flatland, as “the place with all those turbines”; and for what paltry amount of variable power? http://www.spittalwindfarm.co.uk
So Mr. Pottinger is undeterred, even after a local referendum where a substantial majority of the local residents do not want such huge windfarms so close to people’s dwellings. ( 78 meters at the cone.) The primary industry of the area is tourism and the decomissioning of the leaking dounreay reactor mess. His 57.5 Megawatt windfarm application overlooks known guidelines for placement new dwelling houses, and seeks to enrich landlord pocketbooks at the expense of the people who will have to live with the blight. Here is the window dressing website (note the greenwashing on the front page to justify antidemocratic means). http://www.bailliewindfarm.co.uk/
Why is it a problem? The highland council has stated in its own guidelines, that it will not put the public at risk from dangerous industrial installations. Yet the treasury is driving this gold rush by offering renewable energy credits and not charging for the attenuation of transmitting the power to where it will be used. Are all the energy landlords going to put up larger and larger installations of junk in the highlands? Who’s side should you take, oh ye green energy believers. Are you for keeping your national parklands sacred? Then one must come down against positioning them in greenfield spaces like this. The very spirit of the place that people love about these highlands is being put at risk. The turbines are far bigger than the mountains, and will forever impinge the place as the principal monument.
Are you with the highlanders in this? The local people are being overridden using “section 36” that allows the executive to stuff a windfarm right by their houses against their will and the majority vote. Mr. Pottinger has been travelling around the highlands to get signatures for his business – everywhere but with the local people who are not won over. Too many people remember the devious methods he employed to push through the spittal hill development. We’re all paying higher electricity prices and having the highlands industrialised so that people far away can feel green whilst the atmosphere warms.
Until the parliament starts putting wind turbines in their own constituencies, this greenwashing smacks of a new form of highland clearances; big money interests from down south seek to erode and destroy the lives of the descendents from the last clearances. But anyone who’s listened to their mother, knows the highland maxim: “Don’t trust men in suits from down south. – just say no.” Its not about green power, its about democracy and the abuse of power. Here is this battle as described in the local paper.
The RSPB is against this industrial installation – from their objection letter:
“RSPB Scotland has an outstanding objection to the above proposal (RSPB/Scot. Exec. 10/03/2006). Subsequently, we have received additional information from the applicant and Scottish Natural Heritage. Having reviewed this, we wish to maintain our objection. The ecological and legal basis of our objection is set out below but in summary, we conclude that:
• From the information available, we do not believe that a competent authority can conclude there will be no adverse effect on the integrity of the Special Protection Area.
• The monitoring and mitigation which have been proposed are unlikely to offset even predicted losses; and
• Consequently, we believe the proposal to be contrary to both national and local authority frameworks. In particular Scottish Planning Policy 6: Renewable Energy, National Planning Policy Guideline 14: Natural Heritage and The Highland Renewable Energy Strategy and Planning Guidelines (May 2006). ”
If you are concerned about covering these islands open spaces with giant turbines, the place to lodge an objection online is: http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/
Am Blaran Odhar, Scotland
The Peat Stack
29 November 2007
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