I concur with Aileen Jackson’s description of the planning process concerning “Wind Power” (Letters, 30 March) having witnessed at first hand the way in which which developers deliberately mislead the public with a claimed rated capacity which is at least a 60 per cent exaggeration of delivered reality. They also display photo montage images of proposed sites at public meetings, carefully enhanced to placate concerns over visual impacts. Communities are beguiled by tempting financial “community benefits”. If an application goes to a public enquiry objectors find themselves pitted against highly professional Advocates who tie them in procedural knots. This is a mere nod to democracy by a Scottish Government obsessed with the pursuit of wind power. I experienced this at the time when they bemoaned the “theft” of Scotland’s oil that would fuel an independent Scotland’s economy. How times have changed.
Even though there are some 8,700 land-based turbines in the UK today they barely provide 4 per cent of energy demand. Meanwhile we hapless consumers, through our electricity bills, pay operators billions of pounds a year in subsidies and euphemistically named “constraint payments” for when the wind is either too strong or fails to blow. The claimed savings in carbon emissions have been grossly exaggerated when the raw materials, manufacturing costs (all reliant on fossil fuels) construction and decommissioning are fully taken into account. Policy makers want to expand wind farm construction with the vague claim that the wind always blows somewhere, conveniently ignoring the need for back-up from fossil fuel plants, predominantly gas, of which over 50 per cent is imported. A further “inducement” to communities is being considered – cheaper electricity to those living close to wind farms and possible relaxation of planning rules. Overrides and bribes are replacing democracy.
Some may recall Gordon Brown’s “Dash for Diesel” in 2001. Under the Freedom of Information Act the Treasury eventually revealed that manufacturers and officials were well aware of the hazards of soot particulate and nitrogen dioxide emissions. Now we are being similarly urged to embrace electric vehicles which, like wind power, hide their dark secrets behind a convenient green smoke screen.
Neil J Bryce, Kelso, Scottish Borders
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