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Turbine truths

Anent the opposing views on wind turbines of the John Muir Trust and Scottish Renewables (your report and Platform, 7 April) we need an independent commission of experts in all relevant disciplines, to publish the facts and credible forecasts soon after the election, on at least these issues:
– Their total costs, including access roads, site-to-grid cabling, de-commissioning and land restoration after their economic lives, identifying grants and subsidies paid from levies and taxes to landowners and operators;

– Back-up requirements when wind is too weak or strong.

– Their advocates’ use of 20-year life spans to counter environmental objections, but if they are so effective and the sites so suitable, will they not be replaced in-situ in year 20 for the next 20 years?

– Effects on peat bogs and soil structures of – and CO2 emissions and airborne pollution caused by – the concrete for access roads and to ensure their stability.

– Possible health risks from some metal components.

– Where the materials and components will originate (the Forth Bridge steel will be Chinese).

We need convincing that turbines will generate extra electricity commensurate with all resources used; the energy produced is genuinely clean, after offsetting the resources and energy used in their production, installation, grid connections and de-commissioning; and the real economic return for the country, not just for landowners and operators, on the full costs of investment is reasonable.

Andrew Birkett

Horseleys Park

St Andrews

I read with anger the head of VisitScotland’s request for material for its television advertisement for Scotland (Letters, 7April). I think the tourism chief should surprise himself and visit all the wind farm sites passed, approved, in planning and scoping in Scotland. In the Scottish Borders alone this figure, according to Scottish Borders Council, in May 2010 would be 36 wind farms with 676 turbines.

In Dumfries and Galloway I believe the numbers are very similar and I wonder why the tourism chief did not dissuade the government from its recent decision to pass the Blackcraig wind farm which will blight the Glenkens area of Galloway.

I had bed and breakfast visitors for 14 years and know first-hand how much the type of person who chooses Scotland for their holiday appreciates its scenery. All polls say that scenery is the main reason for visiting Scotland. If we do not value it, why should we expect people to chose our country for their precious time off work and the place to spend their hard-won holiday money?

New figures out this week show how erratic and disappointing the output is from wind farms. We are ruining our major industry for a dud. We must have an immediate moratorium on wind farms before we are bankrupt as a country as well as suffering power cuts.

Celia Hobbs

Peebles Road

Penicuik, Midlothian