You will doubtless have followed and perhaps celebrated news of the early cessation of onshore windfarm susbidies through the Renewal Obligation scheme. You will also have seen the exaggerated outrage emanating from the SNP government in Scotland and in particular Fergus Ewing’s threat of taking the matter to judicial review.

A keen eyed follower of windfarm matters recalled this from the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald, 2007. It speaks for itself in so many ways:

Local MSP Fergus Ewing believes that the Scottish Executive has acted irresponsibly in paving the way for so much wind farm development. He said: “In 2003 I met with Scottish Executive Minister Lewis MacDonald to call for a tighter policy on wind energy with restrictions as to where they can be sited taking account of the scenic value of the landscape and its impact on tourism. “Secondly, I called for the Executive to ensure that where wind farms are permitted that the wider community benefits not just the wind companies and landowners. Both of these pleas were rejected by the Labour-Liberal Executive as they feared that any restrictions would drive wind farm development down south to England and Wales. These fears, I believe, were spurious. “The SNP believes that many other forms of renewable energy are the future – not unconstrained wind farms – such as tidal power, wave power, solar energy, geothermal heat sources and hydrogen cells. “These are technologies of the future and in some cases the present. Wind farms have, however, a very heavy environmental footprint not only blotting the landscape in places such as Dava which has huge beauty and Lochindorb which is of considerable historic interest but also in the release of substantial quantities of methane from peat landscapes such as that proposed by the Eurus wind farm at Glenkirk. “The Scottish Executive policy seems to be based on the Martini advert: any time, any place, anywhere. “All in all, I believe that the current wind farm free for all policy is flawed and I hope that at a new Scottish Executive led by my own party from May will call a halt to this and introduce a balanced policy with a location strategy and community benefit.”


Wind of change?

One of the first items we added to this website was the 2007 quote from Jim Mather that we leave at the top of our sidebar. Fast forward to 2015 and Fergus Ewing, after refusing the Sandy Knowe windfarm says:

“We need a balanced approach in taking forward this policy and have to consider what impact any development would have on the local area.

That is why I have refused permission for the proposed Sandy Knowe wind farm, which would have had an unacceptable landscape and visual impact, in the Dumfries and Galloway area.”

With threats to our region as prevalent as ever we hope this concern for landscape and quality of life is not just for show.

With the California windfarm application now live without even waiting for a decision on the met’ mast appeal please sign the Save Wigtown Bay petition and object to the development in your own words by writing to Dumfries & Galloway Council. It matters.

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Fifty community councils from across Dumfries and Galloway have called for a moratorium on planning consent for wind farms in the region.

More (BBC) …

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A new survey by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland finds two-thirds of people think turbines are making Scotland a less appealing place to visit.

More (The Telegraph) …

Plans for a £5.4bn offshore wind farm off the coast of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides have been dropped.

More (BBC) …

It’s not over yet

The public is being urged to make its views known on possible plans to extend a large wind farm off the Dumfries and Galloway coast.

Expansion of the Robin Rigg development in the Solway Firth was ruled out by Scottish ministers in March 2011.

However, it has resurfaced as an option in a consultation document on offshore energy developments.

More (BBC)…

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New evidence of the unprecedented pressure SNP ministers are exerting on Scottish planning authorities to allow more wind farm developments can be disclosed by the Daily Telegraph.

Source (Daily Telegraph) …

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HUGE areas of the Highlands are to be declared “turbine free” in a move designed to halt the march of wind farms across some of Scotland’s most beautiful and unspoiled landscapes.

About 28% of the countryside will be designated as wildland on maps being drawn up by Scottish Natural Heritage.

They will be accompanied by Scottish Government planning guidelines advising local authorities wind farms should only be approved in those areas in exceptional circumstances. The move follows disquiet in rural communities over the rapid expansion of wind power, which has carpeted large tracts with turbines – especially in Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, the Borders and Perthshire.

Source (Scottish Herald) …

A community councillor from Argyll is mounting a landmark legal challenge against the UK and the EU at the United Nations in Geneva this week over their renewables policies, on the grounds that the public is being denied the truth about the alleged benefits, and the adverse impact, of wind power.

The Independent …

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National Grid and ScottishPower have today announced the award of a £1bn contract to Siemens and cable manufacturer Prysmian to build the first ever sub sea electricity link between Scotland and England. The major grid upgrade will allow the connection of up to 6GW of renewable energy in Scotland.

Source (National Grid) …

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