Wind farm protestors take to the hills

THE heart of the Lammermuirs was beating strong at the weekend when over 350 people took part in a protest march to draw attention to the impact of the increasing number of wind turbines that are either erected or planned across the hills between the Borders and East Lothian.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 16th June 2010, 3:49 pm

Environmentalist David Bellamy joined the walkers on Saturday and said: "You have to marvel at the passion and determination of the local people here.

"They will not give up."

In the days leading up to the protest walk, people who live and work in the hills made a 100 feet stone heart on the hillside near the Fasney Burn as a symbol of their affection for the area which has AGLV (Area of Great Landscape Value) status.

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The heart was of loose stone construction, inspired by the local examples of drystane dykes and sheep stells and walkers cheered as they passed by.

As the number of wind farms in the area continues to increase, protestors are particularly focused on the proposed 48 turbine wind farm at Fallago Rig - if it goes ahead their fear is that it will join up existing wind farms, creating a landscape dominated by wind turbines.

Scottish Borders Council and East Lothian Council, local community councils and residents all oppose the Fallago Rig plans and two public inquiries have been held, with the outcome of the second inquiry expected at any time now.

The Scottish Government's renewable energy programme makes if likely that they are looking for a positive outcome for the wind farm, following the Ministry of Defence withdrawing their original opposition, an attitude attacked by Mr Bellamy who said: "I am shocked by the myopia of the Scottish Government and can only implore Ministers to recognise real democracy and acknowledge the local opposition to the Fallago Rig debacle.

"The outcome of the public inquiry into this wind farm application will be a watershed moment.

"If it is approved, the Scottish Government will be declaring open war on Scotland's countryside – no landscape will be safe from industrialisation by these high rise wind machines."

Mark Rowley, spokesman for the Say No To Fallago protest group said: "There is no greater affirmation of the strength of opposition to this wind farm than that seen on our protest walk.

"We have really touched a nerve and we feel that those who cherish the importance of Scotland's rural landscapes are behind us. The Scottish Government must listen to our concerns. We cannot risk the complete saturation of such a beautiful part of the world with wind turbines.

"The Scottish Government cannot ride roughshod over such overwhelming local opposition.

"The unspoiled core of the Lammermuir Hills is all that remains untouched by wind turbines in this area - it is all we have left.

"We have the support of all the local councils; of all the local community councils; of the organisation that advises Government on landscape issues; and, crucially, of an ever-increasing number of normal people from around Scotland.

"We will not go away quietly."