Disgust at the Scottish Government’s mockery of democracy by ignoring the views of the local community and Scottish Borders Council and permitting the construction, at Fallago Rig, of yet another large wind turbine complex (your report, 10 November) should not be allowed to obscure the main reasons for opposing such developments.
At the right price and in the right place, wind power can indeed make a useful contribution to the nation’s energy budget. However, with most current proposals, neither of these is right.
The absurdly generous terms which international energy companies are offered means wind farm construction and operation is hugely profitable. As a result, developers are able to make substantial annual payments to landowners who would probably never otherwise countenance such vandalism. And the money will all come from the pockets of Scottish electricity consumers.
We might even be relieved that the 48-turbine Fallago Rig complex will “merely” devastate an area of natural beauty. Other existing and proposed developments are close to habitation and will devastate people’s lives.
Wind turbines are not nice things to live near. The sheer visual impact of a 420-foot structure half a mile from one’s home is overwhelming and oppressive. Turbines currently favoured are more than twice the height of Edinburgh’s Scott Monument and will probably be the tallest man-made structures in Scotland.
That is not the worst of it. Turbines are noisy. The noise is persistent and pervasive and can drive people to distraction and even from their (now unsaleable) homes. Naturally, no form of compensation is on offer from either developers or government.
Finally, energy minister Jim Mather’s remarks about carbon dioxide savings are an utter irrelevance. The annual emissions from all of Scotland’s fossil fuel power stations are about one tenth of 1 per cent of the world’s total.
If they were all shut down tomorrow the effect would be imperceptible. What is more, it would be a futile gesture, as within six weeks China would have added more than that amount.
It is high time the people of Scotland woke up to what Mr Salmond and his cronies are doing to our countryside and communities and put a stop to this expensive and pointless vandalism.
Jack W Ponton (FREng, Emeritus Professor of Engineering)
University of Edinburgh
So, greed, machismo and ignorance win out at Fallago Rig. Greed from the landowner – is their estimated worth of £90 million not enough for them?
Machismo from Alex Salmond, who wishes to strut everywhere claiming Scotland makes more renewable energy than any else, even if it means leaving the countryside an industrialised ruin?
Ignorance from energy minister Jim Mather, who claimed it was all to do with acid rain – in this day and age a non-problem.
Is it fruitless to point out that nuclear power never contributed to acid rain and that the UN has finally put to rest the gross exaggerations of risk of nuclear energy which so energised this government against it.
And who will pay for this over? We all need it, so the poorest will have to stump up a greater proportion of their income accelerating the increasing gap between rich and poor in “fairer” Britain.
Will we ever get a Scottish Government that takes pride in and protects its most valuable resource from creeping industrialisation and despoliation; the wilderness and unspoilt beauty that characterised Scotland down the centuries?
Obviously not from these Scottish Nationalists.
(Prof) Anthony Trewavas FRS
For those of us keen to look after our beautiful landscape for future generations the news that Jim Mather has given the go-ahead for the giant wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills is a telling sign that short-term profit and political dogma will ruin our countryside.
Not only will this wind farm lead to the long-term loss of jobs due to higher electricity prices compared with our competitors’, but the inherent unreliability of this form of energy generation will put our electricity supplies at risk and make Scotland an unattractive place to invest in.
This infatuation with so-called green energy allows developers the latitude to get away with the sort of environmental damage that would not be allowed by politicians to any other industry. For evidence of this we need look no further than your report in the same paper of proposals for a biomass plant at Leith.
Our politicians profess a laudable concern for the environment and yet the current energy policy not only has a significant adverse economic cost but is already damaging our own environment with little real benefit to anyone apart from already wealthy landowners and energy companies.
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