Community is facing over-development of turbines
SIR, - I would like to address the ‘Battle for Balance’ report in your issue of December 20. The same issue helpfully included an article describing the near-completion of the Fallago Rig wind-energy generation site.
The battle line for balance is drawn here in East Berwickshire between the expansion of large-scale wind-energy generation and its landscape, visual and audible impact. It has implications for other areas of Scotland. This clearly means that as a community of residents witnessing and increasingly subject to the effects of this encroachment, we are now questioning its acceptability.
The scale of this potential change is difficult to comprehend. The large map identifying existing and proposed turbines (ie at the screening, scoping and full application planning stages), above 30m prepared for the meeting in Foulden village hall (your report December 20), was as close an approximation as possible, and it was shocking.
Should current applications succeed, for example, the horizons which characterise Berwickshire’s stretch of the A1 trunk-road, will be dominated by very high wind-turbines effectively creating a wind-energy generation corridor and radically changing this landscape for decades. We are witnessing potential over-development in our uniquely rural locality with industrial structures on a massive scale.
In addition to access roads for heavy machinery, the construction of the foundations for each turbine causes significant disturbance as a close examination of the photograph accompanying your article on Fallago Rig (December 20), clearly illustrates.
The reliability of Don Mackay’s (EDF head of onshore construction), statement that its construction has had ‘minimal impact to the local environment’ and that when the operation ceases it ‘will be returned to its original state’ is highly questionable. It would be helpful, incidentally to know from him the ‘how’ and ‘when’!
Our landscapes more than anything define what we are as a region and a country. In the face of such callous over-development rewarded by very ‘easy-money’, it is reasonably expected that statutory authority including our government would protect against the fundamental change to what we most cherish as a country. This is evidentially not happening. What on earth does nationalism mean if it does not promote and protect what gives us our sense of national and cultural identity?
This is not about being ‘against’ wind-generation but is the battle of balance against over development. On our farm, we have two wind turbines below 20m to turbine tip and both located close to our steadings, for optimal (not maximal), generation without unacceptably impacting on the landscape of our beloved work-place and living-space and nor that of others.
A contribution to the high electricity demands of our on-farm butchery and a small amount to income is provided. This is carefully considered and balanced micro-generation and wind-energy at its most effective.
I urge your other readers to become informed by going on-line to the Scottish Borders Council planning portal and to contact their nearest action group.
If they already have concerns than they must let our councillors and MSPs know – but most of all to object to the full planning applications for these large-scale wind-generating locations as soon as they are submitted by the developers, which is easily done online. If they live in East Berwickshire there will be one close to them.
Peelham Farm, Foulden.
Court closure risks justice being done in Eyemouth
SIR, - No sane citizen would dispute the concern voiced by Eyemouth Community Council at the proposal to close the Sheriff Court at Duns, but surely the most crucial argument is not so much about the problems of the accused having to travel to Edinburgh but of the breach of a cardinal principle of justice – that not only should justice be done, but that it should be seen to be done.
Justice should be seen to be done not only by the victims, and by those contemplating like crimes, but also by the community which justice is serving. The proposal to scrap Duns Court flies right into the face of this fundamental principle. Indeed, even having a court so remote as Duns, is no way of bringing justice to Eyemouth.
Surely justice, if it is to be seen to be done, should it not come to the people and not the other way round? I have seen, in France, bedecked magistrates dispensing justice to offending motorists in fields by the roadside attended by formidable-looking breeched and booted gendarmes. Fair weather justice maybe, but there was sight of justice being done – certainly.
What consideration has been given to the Queen’s Justices going on circuit visiting the outlands and, properly decked out with gowns, wigs and long hose, striking terror into the hearts of villains and felons and dispensing justice wherever it is needed. Should not the Queen’s Justices parade in majesty through the streets of Eyemouth to show that Her Peace will be maintained come what may?
FENTON F. ROBB
North Street, Eyemouth.
Parking charges only serve to discourage visitors
SIR, - Labour members of the East Lothian Council administration have learned from past mistakes.
In 2007 part of their local election downfall was the plan to introduce coastal car parking charges just before the local election. Myself and others in the Lib Dem/SNP Coalition were elected on an anti coastal parking charges manifesto.
Following the 2007 election the administration held consultations with the public which showed widespread opposition to the introduction of charging.
Financial modelling by council officers showed that charges were unlikely to make enough income, once overheads were covered, to bring financial opportunities for positive investment in coastal infrastructure.
There was also the question of management of displaced parking (eg from Shore Road into Belhaven), particularly where people didn’t want to pay to spend a few minutes looking at the Bridge to Nowhere.
In 2012 the new coalition voted to introduce charges without any further consultation with the public. However, they will be aware that they do not have to face the ballot box until May 2017. Thus it is the ideal time to introduce potentially unpopular new measures.
I remain opposed to the introduction of charging which will serve to discourage visitors and locals alike from taking active exercise at our beautiful beaches and as previously modelled by council officers will not create the income needed to invest in improved facilities. Why pay to visit a beach in East Lothian when others in the Borders, Edinburgh and Northumberland are free?
I hope the local electorate will remember the unpopularity of this decision and who made it without consulting with them when election 2017 comes around.
Postal workers deserve praise for festive service
SIR, - Full praise to all the hard working postal workers who made sure we received our Christmas mail in time.
All our mail and parcels arrived – from Canada, Isle of Man, Wales, England and Scotland. Only one card arrived a little late – on Christmas Eve – but it is perhaps understandable because the sender forgot to put a stamp on.
Thanks you to all.
Thanks for support
SIR, - On behalf of Eyemouth RNLI lifeboat crew, I would like to thank all those who made our recent carol concert such a great success. Not only was it an excellent night, a combination of door sales, donations and proceeds from the sale of our CD on the night helped raise a grand total of £916.90 for the RNLI.
Coxswain, Eyemouth Lifeboat