The Scottish Government has inflicted the biggest injury on the reputation of Scotland as a place renowned for its natural beauty.
The approval of the 68-turbine Griffin wind farm in the heart of Highland Perthshire has sounded the death knell to Perthshire’s worldwide reputation as a jewel in the crown of Scotland’s scenery. The 68 massive turbines would be seen from every hill and mountain top in the area, including Schiehallion, pictured.
As one of the local people who campaigned for four years to protect this world-class national treasure, I am completely devastated. The long weeks and months that I devoted to assemble the valid arguments as to why this wind farm was totally inappropriate for Highland Perthshire were not for any personal benefit.
I fought for the thousands of visitors who come every year to this beautiful part of Scotland. I did not want them to return one year and face an industrial landscape. I did not want them to say: “How could this have happened? Why did the people living here not stop this?”
The answer is that the Scottish Government listened to the power companies, not the people.
The government describes our landscape as one of the enduring symbols of Scottish culture. Why has it not protected it? Of course, in theory this wind farm is going to save carbon emissions, but in practice just how many tonnes will be saved and at what price? A price too far, will be the cry of those who look upon the giant industrial swords plunged deep into the heart of Scotland.
“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect,” said Aldo Leopold.
Helen Taylor, Glenfender Cottage, Amulree, Dunkeld.,p> If Scottish waters could eventually produce 21.5 gigawatts of electricity – more than the total likely to be generated in Scotland from all sources in 2020, then why are we desecrating our beautiful Scottish countryside with wind farms that only produce electricity when the wind blows and are inefficient even when the wind does blow?
According to the Forum for Renewable Energy Development, Scotland’s marine energy potential is vast. Sea tides are guaranteed – wind is not. Which tail is wagging what dog here? Someone has to be held to account for the destruction of the Scottish countryside, and meeting energy targets at any cost is not an acceptable answer when our pristine countryside is at stake.
Who stands to benefit here – and I mean financially, not environmentally? Why the obscene haste to erect ugly and inefficient wind farms in Scotland? Why are the opinions of the electorate ignored? What deals are being done behind closed doors? While we are on the subject, if the wind farms must be erected, then paint them green to blend with the countryside, and not brilliant white, or has this environmental irony been conveniently lost in the planning paperwork?
Getting it right is more important than rushing through inefficient technology to achieve dubious targets. What is Scotland’s percentage contribution to global warming as a nation? Is the renewable energy set for Scotland in line with reducing Scotland’s carbon footprint, or the overall UK contribution? Is Scotland paying an unfair price for the other overcrowded and polluted parts of the UK? Is Scotland, once again, being told to go above and beyond the call of duty in counteracting her own carbon footprint, with the subsequent destruction of world-class pristine scenery, natural habitats, etc, on which Scottish tourism, leisure and recreational industries depend?
William C McLaughlin, Glencozie, Stonehill Road, Biggar.
Why hide large-scale wind farms away in rural Perthshire? If they are necessary, we should surround our urban centres with these industrial monstrosities, thus maximising the percentage of the population who can enjoy the visual and aural intrusion they provide.
Given that this industry exists only thanks to public subsidy, more of the population could see where their money is going. Despoiling rural areas, especially in a country that relies on tourism, is merely a dishonest way to proceed with this questionable technology.
Paul Sneddon, 3C Winton Drive, Glasgow.
2 February 2008