April 20, 2022
Letters, Scotland

Wind farms; Low blow

Readers' Letters | The Scotsman | Wednesday, 20th April 2022 | www.scotsman.com

Aileen Jackson points to the easy acceptance of wind farms by those who will never have to live near them (Letters, 18 April). This has left a free hand to developers in Scotland.

When subsidies stopped for wind farms in 2012 there were many hotly contested wind farm consents in Scotland of turbines around 100 metres high. Many of these consents, all over Scotland, are now new applications for larger turbines around 150 metres tall.

This means they bypass legislation designed for wind farms administered by councils and they go to the Energy Consents Unit under legislation from 1989 designed for power stations. Councils can trigger a public inquiry at great expense but it is hard to justify when so many councils are overruled by the Scottish Government on appeal. A scoping list is arranged between the regulatory body – ie the ECU – and the developer for interested parties to have input into the Environmental Impact Assessment. The 2017 regulations governing these assesments say Scottish Ministers must not adopt a scoping opinion until they have consulted interested parties.

The ECU did not notice for two years that Midlothian (population 93,000) and the community councils of Penicuik and Howgate (which will bear the brunt of the construction traffic) were missed off the scoping list for Cloich forest wind farm on hills above the tourist route from Edinburgh to Peebles The site is only 3km outside Midlothian in the Borders council area. The application is for an increase in height of 12 turbines to 149.5m (eight metres short of the Blackpool Tower). I am told the omission was an “oversight”.

The ECU says scoping is “voluntary” under the 2017 regulations and because Midlothian Council has now been given the chance to put in a consultation that is the end of the matter. How can regulations be voluntary?

Celia Hobbs, Penicuik, Midlothian

Low blow

In her letter, Aileen Jackson did not address the big fault with wind farms in that, if there is no wind, there is no output. The Scotwind project of 25,000MW of off-shore wind farms comes at a capital cost of around £125 billion yet, if Holyrood bans fossil fuel generators and nuclear plant, what will keep the lights on in Scotland when there is prolonged high pressure over the winter?

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2022/04/20/wind-farms-low-blow/