It’s been a busy couple of weeks for some of our volunteers, after Scotland Against Spin, an Environmental protection campaign group, contacted us to see if we could lend a hand for the SNP conference that was held in Inverness on the 23rd March 2013.
Scotland Against Spin had secured space in the conference hall and wanted us to design commercial literature to distribute to delegates which highlighted a variety of wind farms that have been built in unsuitable locations.
Scotland Against Spin chose to highlight developments at Lauderdale in the borders, Hadyard Hill Wind Farm, Whitelees Wind Farm, Little Raith Wind Farm, and the Clyde Wind Farm, all of which, are having a variety of negative impacts on the populations next to these developments.
The image above is from Lauderdale in the Borders, where a range of developers are currently seeking permission for more turbine developments. The wind farm is made up of smaller developments from several developers, and is a situation currently facing Central Fife, especially since we have heard through the grapevine that Clentrie Wind Farm, consisting of 3 x 328ft wind turbines have been approved, despite Fife Council planning recommending the application should be refused.
Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath and Lumphinnans will now have another 3 wind turbines built in close proximity to Mossmorran and Little Raith, with another 2 x 328ft turbines still to be built at Mossmorran, which has only been delayed as the developer wishes to increase the height of the approved two turbines to 413ft.
Including Little Raith Wind Farm and all the approved turbines, the Little Raith area will now be home to 14 Industrial Wind Turbines, and even more applications are pending, including a turbine to sit near the Gelly Loch boat house.
We will provide details of the Clentrie Wind Farm as details are released.
Inverness ProtestWe were also asked if we would like to attend a planned demonstration at the conference, arranged by Stop Highlands Windfarms Campaign, in partnership with Caithness Windfarm Information Forum and Scotland Against Spin, as well as contributions from many other groups and individuals all over Scotland concerned at the current Scottish Government Wind Energy Policy.
One of the main purposes of the demonstration was to hand over a petition started by an American group; Wind Wise Radio, who started the petition after many Americans have raised concern over the destruction of our Scottish Heritage and Landscapes. The petition which started in America received signatories from all over the world and found it’s way to Scottish shores.The petition was to be handed to Alex Salmond at the Eden Court by Rhona Weir, who is the widow of Scottish hero Tom Weir. For those that don’t who who Tom Weir was, he was a climber, author and broadcaster who traveled all over Scotland exploring the landscape, natural heritage, and meeting with the people in the areas he visited.
Unfortunately, the demonstration coincided in one of the worst weather events seen for March in the past 30 years, which saw heavy snowfall in parts across Scotland, extreme cold weather, and disruption to road and rail traffic.
Despite the weather, there was still a strong presence of over 100 campaigners from all over Scotland wishing to deliver their message to Alex Salmond, and this turnout gives testimony to the strength of conviction that these individuals have against Wind Power.Rhona Weir (94) travelled from Loch Lomond to Inverness to hand over the petition but unfortunately Alex Salmond refused to accept the petition publicly. Arrangements were made for an aide to accept the petition, but at the last minute this was changed to a private meeting for the handover.
Our role at the demonstration was to capture images and video footage of the day, this was on a voluntary capacity, and it gave us an opportunity to meet a range of people campaigning against the willful destruction of our landscapes for inefficient wind energy power schemes.
Despite the weather, individuals and groups made the effort to show their presence at the conference, and it was a shame that Rhona Weir was snubbed by the ministerial delegates, however this did not dampen the enthusiasm or spirits of the campaigners.Whilst none of the campaigners had a situation like Lochgelly with a wind farm built next to an already impactive chemical plant, they still had their fair share of horror stories about wind farms being built in unsuitable locations that are currently impacting on their local areas.
One resident from the Highlands showed us pictures of a wind farm of 8 x 120m turbines built within 600 metres of their homes (The closest turbine at Little Raith is 1300 metres to homes in Cowdenbeath), which resulted in unacceptable visual and noise impacts.
Another resident from the Whitelees area showed the horrendous developments stretching as far as the eye can see, an area completely saturated with industrial wind turbines destroying the natural heritage.
Many more voices told of horrific developments in their areas, the battle for local planning democracy, which some opinionated, is non-existent when it comes to wind energy developments, the unscrupulous attitude of developers to get planning permissions, and many more horrific and sad witness statements.
Knowing that their areas have been sacrificed for wind energy did not stop them in their democratic right of having their voices heard, and we personally felt that all those participated were certainly dedicated to ensure the destruction will not continue for other communities.