Packed town hall hears of wind farm tsunami

MSP John Lamont and planning officials were amongst the audience in Jedburgh Town Hall who heard that the wind turbines currently operating across the Borders are just the ripple at the start of a tsunami of turbines under construction, consented or in the pipeline.

At last week’s open meeting, ‘Is Wind the Answer?, John Mayhew, director of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, claimed that wind is only part of the answer to cutting carbon emissions and not nearly as much as the Scottish Government hopes. He explained why conserving our landscape is important, and the crucial issues arising from the surge of wind turbine applications.

Mike Haesler chairman of the Scottish Climate and Energy Forum spoke about how local democracy is now being ignored by the Scottish Government to ensure it can drive through its wind energy policy regardless of the population’s views. He said the Scottish Government’s ambition for Scotland to become the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy is fundamentally flawed because it focuses on; electricity generation not demand; export (irrespective of market price); and is subsidy driven. He believes the UK Government needs to address the twin issues of heat and transport as well as electricity in trying to meet its carbon emissions target.

Mark Rowley from the Cranshaws, Ellemford and Longformacus Community Council pointed out the lessons to be learned from his group’s failed attempts to prevent turbine developments like Fallago Rig in the Lammermuir Hills. He said: “Once developers have one turbine or wind farm approved, there will inevitably be more because developers can then claim that the landscape has already been altered and a precedent set.”

Other contributors included Helen McDade from the John Muir Trust, economist Professor Jane Bower, from the APRS and Ian Aikman from SBC’s planning department who explained the council’s position on planning matters,

Jack Ponton spoke about the impact of turbine noise and the inadequacy of existing EU regulations in measuring and monitoring the impact of different kinds of turbine noise on people, livestock and wildlife living nearby.