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Invading army of wind turbines is damaging tourism industry  

Credit:  The Herald | www.heraldscotland.com 25 September 2012 ~~

I share the concerns of John Milne and Alex McIntosh and many other correspondents about the relentless march of columns of large concrete structures across Scotland’s magnificent scenery (Letters, September 24).

It is like an invading army taking over our country, and instead of opposing it the Scottish Government is actively encouraging the intrusion.

I simply cannot understand this official policy, and I fear it will lose the SNP many votes in the forthcoming independence referendum. Offshore wind farms and the urgent development of wave, tidal and hydro power are far better options with far fewer negative effects.

Tourism is one of Scotland’s major industries, earning many millions of pounds every year. Probably the main attraction for overseas tourists and visitors is the delight of constantly changing views of the surrounding countryside, a natural asset which is the envy of many other countries.

Yet we are in danger of severely damaging this industry, losing many thousands of jobs and ruining the countryside in pursuit of artificially created targets of renewable energy to reduce CO2 emissions, of which Scotland produces just a tiny fraction of 1% of the world’s output.

It is not just the turbines that are an eyesore. The hillsides are scarred by access roads, concrete foundations and underground cables, and now it is reported that large swathes of forestry plantations are to be scythed down to allow wind access to yet more of these man-made monstrosities.

And when they reach the end of their useful life in 20 years, who is going to pay for their removal and the restoration of the land to its former beauty? Not the landowners, I’m sure, who are enjoying generous annual subsidies for the use of their land, and not a Government that will argue public funds can be put to better use.

Perhaps it is already too late, but I live in hope that common sense may yet prevail, and our political masters will put an end to this wilful destruction of so much of our beautiful land.

Iain AD Mann,

7 Kelvin Court,

Glasgow.

How timely. Your front-page story was merely the symptom (“Revealed: Salmond’s forest wind farm plans”, September 22).

The illness was revealed in Magnus Gardham’s elegant diagnosis of the health of Scottish parliamentary democracy (“Complaint questions health of Scottish democracy”, The Herald, September 22).

The former says much about how a Government agency, in pursuit of its policies, will sell or lease land to developers for wind energy. The latter says much about the lack of questioning of those policies, or their impact on the people of Scotland.

The impact of energy policy decisions will be felt most immediately in the rural communities bordering on forestry land, such as at Cloich Forest in the Scottish Borders, where perhaps the best those communities can hope for is that Forestry Commission Scotland and the developers will be obliged to obey to the letter the guidelines set out to preserve wildlife, birdlife and the natural environment, tourism and the visual environment, together with the natural water supplies essential to rural houses, farms and livestock; and comply with or exceed the laid-down setback distances.

The vast sums paid to landowners and developers for wind farms with a collective efficiency of a meagre 25-28% have to be found. They are found in the inexorably increasing charges the user pays for electricity.

And so the impact of the Scottish Government’s energy policy and its devotion to wind energy will be felt most keenly by the growing number of Scots who will join those already in fuel poverty.

James Taylor,

Stewarton House,

Eddleston,

Peebles.

I wholeheartedly agree with the reaction of your correspondents to the Scottish Government’s blind, headlong rush to cover our beautiful wild places with massive industrial structures.

It boasts that Scotland has the most ambitious renewables targets of any country in the world, never stopping to think this might suggest we are alone in getting it all wrong. Developers and venture capitalists are queuing up to assist the Government in pursuing this folly.

Ann Cowan describes what is happening to our landscape as a disaster in the making; I suggest that, in large measure, the disaster has already happened (Letters, September 24).

W Alex McIntosh’s suggested timescale of three years before we have no beautiful landscape left to enjoy may not be wide off the mark (Letters, September 24).

Only last week I ventured to White Coomb, a hill above the Grey Mare’s Tail near Moffat, an area owned and protected by the National Trust for Scotland because of its scenic beauty, and was shocked when looking to the north towards Tinto and Broad Law to see, over a 180-degree panorama, an almost unbroken array of wind turbines where two years previously there had been none.

I fear the Southern Uplands of Scotland are already beyond redemption. According to Scottish National Heritage the proportion of Scotland’s land visually unaffected by man-made structures fell from 41% in 2002 to 28% by the end of 2009 and is probably much lower by now.

When will our politicians awake from their delusion that creating an environmental disaster in the blind hope of preventing another is a good idea?

Andrew Mitchell,

4 Glenpark Avenue,

Prestwick.

Source:  The Herald | www.heraldscotland.com 25 September 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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