Your leading article of 22 April implies that the Scottish Government and the people of Lewis are shirking the difficult decisions in refusing permission for a massive wind farm on the island.
The Government rejected the hard decisions long ago when it decided it was easier to industrialise extensive areas of rural Scotland than to pass legislation to stop the appalling waste of energy we are already generating, or to insist that these energy factories be sited close to the end user. The cost of these rural wind farms in money and environmental and landscape destruction is out of all proportion to the resulting product, as pointed out by many commentators, including Dominic Lawson in the same edition of the paper. But these developments are popular with governments because they are a very visible demonstration that “we are doing our bit to reduce global warming.”
However, let nobody worry that the Lewis decision will hold up the race to renewable energy. There are large numbers of wind farm proposals at different stages of the planning and construction process in northern Scotland (seven in my neighbourhood in Moray). As long as no serious measures are being taken in this country to combat CO2 emissions by reducing energy use, most of these will probably go ahead, in the teeth of local protest , environmental and landscape protection designations and common sense. If we are expected to sacrifice landscapes and ecosystems on a grand scale for a dubious greater good, what are city-dwellers sacrificing?
I would advise anyone who loves the Scottish landscape to revisit it soon, before a great deal of it is permanently homogenised by huge white windmills.
24 April 2008
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