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Wind turbines and the battle for local democracy  

Credit:  The Herald, www.heraldscotland.com 5 June 2012 ~~

It is very worrying when a company based in a foreign country tries to interfere with the planning system in another (“Energy giants condemn wind-farm protesters”, The Herald, June 2).

I suspect that Vattenfall’s concerns are much more about their profits than any thoughts about reducing carbon emissions.

It’s not just Vattenfall who are challenging planning policies, the recently approved Interim Planning Policy in Dumfries and Galloway is under attack from developers who have questioned its validity. This policy has taken years to compile and at great cost. The final document is nowhere near as robust as local people hoped or envisaged after the wind power industry managed to implement changes during the consultation period which weakened it considerably. However, it would still bring, at least, a little local democracy.

Even this reduced document isn’t weak enough for the developers who are acting like carpetbaggers putting in spurious applications in every possible location. The planning officers are so overwhelmed with the consequence that important information included in the environmental statements is not questioned but accepted at face value.

It is frequently left to members of the public to point out the discrepancies and inconsistencies in these statements, which is just what the wind-farm developers don’t want.

Applications not processed in the permitted time limits are now being referred directly to the Scottish Government under appeal, by-passing the Dumfries and Galloway planning committee and any chance of a local decision.

It is a sorry day for Scotland and a sorry day for local democracy.

Keith Mycock,

16 Holroyd Road,

Kirkcudbright.

I read with incredulity Vattenfall’s assertion that wind-farm protesters represent a “tiny vocal minority”. This is not the case.

I write representing a large group of people who oppose, in particular, the development of at least two proposed wind farms on the edge of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. We are not bizarre, flat-earthers and are only too familiar with the extravagant and misleading claims of the wind energy lobby.

What arrogance Vattenfall and other development companies represent, in their voracious subsidy predation and immoderate attacks on any who have, in their view, the temerity to oppose the attempted industrialisation of the Scottish countryside which we love and cherish for future generations.

Arguments to change planning laws as suggested by Vattenfall are dangerous as, I would argue, are attempts to subvert the legitimate local democratic process in this most sensitive of areas. It is my ardent hope that a wise and attuned Scottish Government will have nothing whatever to do with such a suggestion.

Brian Rix,

Ardvulan,

Gartmore,

By Stirling.

I agree entirely with Raymond Pratt that the “enormous subsidies we pay for wind farms, an unreliable energy source” are impossible to justify (Letters, June 4).

I welcome the reports emerging to the effect that Chancellor George Osborne is planning to cut these subsidies by 25% (“Campaigners say turbine plan is a ‘wind farm too far'”, The Herald, June 4).

My hope is that he can be persuaded to reduce them by an even greater percentage.

John Milne,

9 Ardgowan Drive,

Uddingston.

Source:  The Herald, www.heraldscotland.com 5 June 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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