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Wind farms threaten Scotland’s future national parks  

Credit:  By Ben Borland | Express | Dec 17, 2016 | www.express.co.uk ~~

Four of the seven landscapes proposed for Scotland’s next national park are under threat from wind farms.

The suggested sites for a new park – the Cheviots, Galloway, Mull, Harris, Glen Affric, Wester Ross and Ben Nevis – include some of the world’s most stunning scenery.

The Galloway bid could bring together the existing Galloway Forest Park, the Dark Sky Park and the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere.

Although there are no wind farms within the forest park, the wider area already has wind farms at Hadyard Hill and Mark Hill.

The suggested sites for a new park – the Cheviots, Galloway, Mull, Harris, Glen Affric, Wester Ross and Ben Nevis – include some of the world’s most stunning scenery.

The Galloway bid could bring together the existing Galloway Forest Park, the Dark Sky Park and the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere.

Although there are no wind farms within the forest park, the wider area already has wind farms at Hadyard Hill and Mark Hill.

She said: “There are only two places on the face of the earth where there is a Unesco Biosphere and a Dark Sky Park; one of them is in Big Bend, Texas, and the other is here in Galloway.

“The ground beneath our feet, the landscape around us and the stars above us are all deemed worthy of protection which doesn’t actually protect us from anything, but national park status would.

“There is one turbine for every 1,000 people in the UK but in Galloway we have one for every 100 people. That is ten times more turbines than the national average.

“Coming up the A713 from Castle Douglas you pass Loch Ken, which can be as still as glass and indescribably beautiful, and other stretches of dramatic landscape, then you arrive at Dalmellington and see the new Deresalloch wind farm and its just awful.

“The public have to get behind this campaign before its too late.”

The Cheviots or Borders National Park, which would cover much of the historic county of Roxburghshire, is also at risk.

There are two wind farms awaiting planning permission and another that was approved on appeal by the Scottish Government in June.

Councillors had rejected the plan for nine 410ft turbines at Windy Edge, near Hermitage Castle, as “incongruous and anachronistic”.

There are no proposals for Glen Affric after Beinn Mhor was rejected last year following a public outcry, although the Corrimony and Bhlaraidh wind farms are close by.

Similarly, the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe area is turbine-free although the Druim Fada wind farm approved near Fort William is likely to be visible from the summit of Britain’s highest peak.

Mull, Harris and Wester Ross do not yet have not have the necessary grid connections and remain untouched by onshore wind energy.

Large wind farms are banned from Scotland’s two existing national parks, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and Cairngorms.

John Mayhew, Director of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS), said it was “logical” to assume the ban would be extended to any future park.

He also argues that council planning committees should be able to take the national park proposals into account when deciding on wind farm applications.

He added: “The point of a national park is to protect the landscape from unsympathetic development, which at the moment is mostly wind farms. Twenty or 30 years ago it was forestry and 20 or 30 years in the future it might be solar farms or hydrogen fuel cells. A national park protects what people value about a landscape, now and forever.”

As the Sunday Express revealed last week, a majority of MSPs are in favour of more national parks with only the SNP against the idea.

However, plans are afoot to embarrass Nicola Sturgeon’s minority administration with a parliamentary vote on the issue.

Source:  By Ben Borland | Express | Dec 17, 2016 | www.express.co.uk

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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