At Kilbirnie in North Ayrshire, a public debate is taking place to hear the appeal of an application by a developer against the North Ayrshire Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for wind farms, auxiliary equipment and services in the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.
The park is formed by a range of hills from Ardrossan in the south to Greenock in the north, a distance of 20 miles. Visible from the mountains are the Trossachs, Arran, Kintyre and Argyll and Bute.
These hills can also be seen clearly from the southern uplands of Scotland and surrounding lands. Forming the eastern boundary of the Clyde estuary, the hills are the seaward gateway to the Tail of the Bank and the city of Glasgow.
The challenge is, do the people of Scotland wish to retain their historic legacy of the wild land or agree to its piecemeal industrialisation?
The ecology of the sites cannot be restored after the developments have gone. The benefits for Scotland are obscure.
Notwithstanding the current issues of climate change, an uncertain science, and lack of definition over planning, the developer’s proposals compromise the long-established plans to maintain the wild natural lands of Inverclyde, Renfrewshire and Ayrshire.
Wind farms operate as well at sea level and in the sea; they do not have to be sited high in the hills.
Power stations would still be necessary for zero and excess wind periods and costs of electricity would not fall. Indeed, they would rise to fund the investment in wind farms.
The plans constitute a negative proposal with serious implications for Scotland.
The government should reinforce policies to ensure the regional and national parks are preserved for future generations.
A J Coleman, Kilwinning.
4 July 2008