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.
You are currently browsing articles tagged Scottish Government.
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.
US tycoon Donald Trump has accused First Minister Alex Salmond of seeming “hell bent on destroying Scotland’s coastline” with wind power.
DONG Energy has reached agreement with the Crown Estate to examine wind farm potential in coastal waters off Dumfries and Galloway.
The waters off south west Scotland were identified earlier this year in a report by Scottish government directorate, Marine Scotland Science, as a potential location.
See also: map of Outer Solway search area (source: Marine Scotland and DONG Energy).
SNP energy minister Fergus Ewing unveiled the Scottish Government’s blueprint for future subsidies yesterday, which includes ending support for biomass plants, and increasing support for tidal renewables.
In The Scotsman.
1330: The BBC has just informed us that plans for a wind farm in Wigtown Bay and for an extension to the live Robin Rigg wind farm have been dropped by the Scottish Government.
One of the original 10 short term options (Bell Rock) was withdrawn as a result of issues arising from possible radar impacts. The sectoral marine planning process and associated Strategic Environmental Assessment raised particular issues surrounding three short term sites in Kintyre, Solway Firth and Wigtown Bay, which has meant that Scottish Ministers have decided that the three sites should not be progressed as part of the offshore wind Plan. This decision was also informed by the developer of the Kintyre site withdrawing from the site due to the available wind resource, technical and environmental effects and issues raised during consultation.
Support for our campaign now comes from the English side of the Solway Firth:
EXPERTS exploring the potential for more wind turbines in the Solway Firth have yet to find anyone in favour of the moves.
Cumbrian fishermen fear the impact of more masts would be disastrous for their industry – currently poised for a multi-million pound boost – and tourism. …
… Dr Fiona Simpson and Paul Alcock of Marine Scotland assured the audience that it will be made clear to Scottish politicians that there is no support for wind turbines off the south west Scotland coast, towards Cumbria.
“We have spoken to around 550 people in the consultation process and nobody has been in favour,” Mr Alcock said.
Officials from Keep Wigtown Bay Natural travelled to Edinburgh this week to deliver their case against the Wigtown Bay offshore wind farm proposal. Chairman Michael McCreath and Treasurer Roy Walter, who both live on the shores of Wigtown Bay, handed over a bound copy of the the group’s response document at Marine Scotland’s offices in Leith.
This document is the product of eight weeks of research by the group into the offshore wind energy sector in Scotland. It also contained the results to date of the wind farm petition, which is gathering signatures from towns and villages around the bay and also online.
The pair then met South of Scotland MSPs at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, where the group has gained cross-party support for their case. Jim Hume (Lib Dem), Derek Brownlee (Con) and Alasdair Morgan (SNP) have all spoken out against the proposed wind farm in Wigtown Bay. (Local MSP, Alex Fergusson, who has also voiced his objections, was away from Edinburgh with constituency commitments.)
Michael McCreath said:
“We have been able to put a strong case together for the removal of Wigtown Bay from the Draft Plan. Its proximity to the coast goes completely against industry guidelines. It is a proposal that should never have been suggested by a responsible developer, never been accepted by The Crown Estate and never been entertained by Marine Scotland.”
The deadline for responses to the Scottish Government’s draft proposal for offshore wind energy in Scottish Territorial Waters expires on September 27. So there are now less than two weeks left to respond.
We recommend that you do not attempt to respond to all 12 questions on the government’s pro forma questionnaire. Some of the questions are very broad in scope and it only makes sense to reply to them if you have read the Strategic Environmental Assessment and are fully conversant with the processes that have informed the SEA.
We recommend instead that you either: a) focus only on those questions, i.e., 4 and 10, that relate specifically to Wigtown Bay and indicate in your covering letter or remarks that your response refers specifically to Wigtown Bay; or b) respond in your own terms about the impact the proposed wind farm will have on the communities that border Wigtown Bay.
In your response we recommend that you focus on the visual impact of the proposed wind farm and also the impact on tourism and the local economy. KWBN has published an Executive Summary which gives useful background information on these issues.
Alasdair Morgan MSP has already submitted a succinct response to the consultation which you can read here. If you are concerned about the wider environmental issues we suggest that you read Scottish Environment LINK’s response and if you agree state in your response that you are supportive of their comments.
You can email your response to: email@example.com or post it to:
Offshore Wind Consultation,
Area 1-A (South)
Tel: 0131 244 1617
Jim Hume, Liberal Democrat MSP for the South of Scotland, has written to the Energy Minister following a widespread letter writing campaign from constituents worried about the location of the offshore wind farm proposals at Wigtown Bay.
The MSP has received a number of representations from constituents and Mr Hume is urging people to write to Dumfries and Galloway throughout the consultation period which was recently extended.
Mr Hume said:
“While these proposals are being referred to as ‘offshore’, it is clear that any proposed wind farm will be in extremely close proximity to the shore and will certainly come to dominate the horizon of Wigtown Bay. I also understand that a recent study has shown the energy benefits gained from this wind farm would be dwarfed by the potential benefits derived from utilising the unique tidal resources offered by the estuary.”
“The use of renewable energy should certainly be encouraged but the location must be appropriate and the means by which the energy is sought must also be sensitive to the surrounding environment. It would appear that these plans do not necessarily satisfy such a condition.”
“Furthermore, I understand that the Strategic Environmental Assessment conducted into the proposals have highlighted that there would be visual damage and an impact upon the sea should these plans come to fruition. I am also aware of there being concerns regarding the potential for impact upon birds and mammals.”
A copy of Mr Hume’s letter to the Minister is attached as below.
Jim Mather MSP
Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism
St. Andrew’s House
Dear [Mr Mather]
Re: Proposals for Offshore Wind Farm Development at Wigtown Bay
I have recently had contact with a number of my constituents residing around the Wigtown Bay area who have highlighted their strong opposition to the proposals to introduce an offshore wind farm. Indeed, you may be aware that this has led to the formation of the Keep Wigtown Bay Natural action group.
I was pleased to see that you recently granted an extension to the consultation period as I know that many local people only became aware of the consultation in early August. I am pleased to have the opportunity to comment on the proposals.
While these proposals are being referred to as ‘offshore’, it is clear that any proposed wind farm will be in extremely close proximity to the shore and will certainly come to dominate the horizon of Wigtown Bay. I also understand that a recent study has shown the energy benefits gained from this wind farm would be dwarfed by the potential benefits derived from utilising the unique tidal resources offered by the estuary. Has this option been considered as an alternative?
The use of renewable energy should certainly be encouraged but the location must be appropriate and the means by which the energy is sought must also be sensitive to the surrounding environment. It would appear that these plans do not necessarily satisfy such a condition.
Furthermore, I understand that the Strategic Environmental Assessment conducted into the proposals have highlighted that there would be visual damage and an impact upon the sea should these plans come to fruition. I am also aware of there being concerns regarding the potential for impact upon birds and mammals.
Please find enclosed a sample of the concerns I have received from some local residents which I would hope highlight the general mood in this community. As you will note from one of the submissions, the constituent has expressed concern over the view that the implications on landscape and recreational pursuits has been labelled as not being of ‘sufficient concern to remove from the Draft Plan’.
In light of this assertion, I would be grateful if you could explain the criteria by which you decide what does and does not constitute ‘sufficient concern’. Do you not also think it appropriate that the more stringent criteria and assessment assigned to the medium-term options should also be applied to short-term options as well? I understand that cumulative effect and the consideration of environmental and technical issues, as well as the mapping of exclusion zones, are exclusive to medium-term options and, as a result, do not apply in this case. What is the rationale for this policy?
Jim Hume MSP
South of Scotland (Liberal Democrat)