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Sunday, 17 February 2013

Stronelairg: Cancerous lump in Scotland’s lung

I’m writing this piece whilst listening to “1984” on the radio. It seems appropriate.

On Tuesday, an old friend will be handed a verdict that could result in a painful death. The spores have been spreading throughout the organ at an alarming rate, so much so that we have all but given up on the patient. The latest cancerous tumour is of such a size and central location that should it not be cut out, and cut out now, death will be inevitable.

I’m talking of course, about the Stronelairg wind farm, situated in the southern central Monadhliath Mountains. On Tuesday, Highland Council’s South Planning Applications Committee will be meeting to determine a planning application from Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) for 83 wind turbines 135m (that’s 443 feet – about a hundred feet higher than the White Cliffs of Dover!) tall with over 50 miles of access roads. All this is in an area of land that has an achingly beautiful, wild quality. The turbines are to be built at between 2,100 and 2,600 feet above sea level.

STRONELAIRG WIND FARM

[CLICK ON MAP TO ENLARGE]

This wind farm is 6 miles long and 3 miles wide. It is of a size that it will take you about three hours to walk though. Wind farms destroy the habitats of upland birds and so where there is now lark song and the thrilling call of curlew, there will be an eerie silence. However, you will be able to hear the deep thrum of the turbine blades slicing through pure mountain winds. You won’t be able to spot the buzzards and eagles anymore; They will either have been bludgeoned to death by turbine blades traveling at over 100 mph or they will abandon their nests in these hills and be gone forever.

The spread of the wind farm cancer is all too evident from this map:

WIND FARM UPDATE 18 JAN 2013

[CLICK MAP TO ENLARGE]

Highland Council’s own planning officer has recommended acceptance of the application even though Scottish National Heritage has voiced severe criticisms of the plans. This from Highland Council’s own report, from SNH:

 

8.146 In February/March 2012 SNH published, for consultation and public comment, a series of maps of Scotland highlighting relative levels of wildness.  The mapping suggests that within the Monadh Liath SAWL, some of the highest qualities of wild land are found within the application site, as well as to the east and north-east. However, it is understood that the recent Glendoe development may not have been accounted for in the datasets used to underpin this work. This mapping is therefore a useful reference point, but cannot be relied upon in its entirety.

8.147 In support of its objection, SNH has expressed its disagreement with conclusions contained  within the ES that the SAWL has already been compromised by recently-permitted development in the area, most notably Glendoe hydro-scheme, the Beauly-Denny transmission line and Corriegarth and Dunmaglass windfarms, and cannot now be considered ‘wild land’.

8.148 With particular reference to Glendoe, SNH’s position is that the impact of tracks
and other smaller-scale ancillary development is contained by the local landscape
character and that these elements have been designed so as to reduce landscape and visual impact. Additionally, unlike the Glendoe dam, the proposed turbines are large moving structures rising well above ground level, often located on higher ground, and are visible from far greater distance; pointing to ZTV prepared by them with show that the Stronelairg turbines would be twice as visible as the existing Glendoe tracks.

8.149 SNH states that although they acknowledge the area now has a reduced sense of wildness as a direct result of changes brought about by recent development “...it still displays all the attributes and allows the experience of wildness that combine to consider the area of high wildness”  and that the area affected by existing development “...continue to make a valuable contribution to the wider area of wild land”.

8.150 SNH concludes by stating that the sensitivity of the wild land resource in the area remains ‘high’, which is not reflected in the ES, and that the impact of the development on the SAWL is not ‘slightly adverse’ and promoted in the applicant’s assessment. Permitting this development would, in SHN’s opinion, result in the SAWL being compromised and its continuation being brought into question.

***

Unbelievably, even though this wind farm will be in a designated search area for wild land and the Scottish Government’s own agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, is objecting to it, Highland Council’s own Planning Officer is recommending acceptance.

You can see the Mountaineering Council of Scotland’s thoughts on Stronelairg HERE

So, mark Tuesday 19th February in your diaries. It could well be the day that Highland Council sentences the Monadhliath to an ugly, industrial death.

 

TUESDAY 19th FEBRUARY UPDATE:

This morning, Highland Council voted by nine votes to seven to carry out a site visit. Interestingly about half the councillors didn’t want to go on the site visit because “it was too remote.”  I think that this demonstrates quite well why this area should be saved – it’s wild land a long way from anywhere! It’s Impossible to get the feel and sense of an area without a visit. At last some of the councillors understand what it’s all about!

Again, Councillor Kerr, a paragon of common sense, said that it would be doing the public a DISSERVICE if there was no site visit and the proposal would not  be properly assessed. Well said that man! Councillors Dave Fallows & Margaret Davidson were also adamant that the committee should visit the site.

The decision this morning is likely to cause months of delay, because, as one councillor pointed out, access to the development could be hampered by bad weather well into spring, saying that there is often snow in June.

No date has yet been set for the site visit.

A report of the meeting can be found in the Strathspey & Badenoch Herald by clicking HERE

54 comments:

  1. I am not being melodramatic, or exaggerating, when I say that I feel close to tears when I think of what you write. If it does happen, I can only take some comfort in having enjoyed a few trips out into these areas before they are further vandalised.

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    1. I agree entirely, Colin.

      I've backpacked through the Monadhliath eight times in the last twenty years and each time it has been an absolute joy. The huge sweeping whale-back hills and deep sheltered glens, totally cut off from roads makes for a perfect backpacking environment.

      That, coupled with watching a family of golden eagles soaring above for hours on end make it a unique place.

      It will all be trashed. The eagles will be smashed to bits or they will move on. This wonderful wild place will just become an industrial waste-land, a power station, a huge monument to the Scottish Government's greed.

      Delete
  2. A few years ago I flew over this in a light aircraft. Right in the middle there was a track one one lone turbine. That alone I saw as an afront to decency and the Highland scenery. No wit is to be joined by 84 more and I suspect that the original target of 184 won't be that far in the future. How long before reality consigns these to history and the bases to a cancern within our earth

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    1. I first saw the turbine, above Dunmaglass Lodge, in May 1998 when they were doing maintenance on it with a huge mobile crane, because it had broken down, again.

      We could see it for two days after we had passed it, and we knew then that it was the beginning of the end for the Monadh Liath

      Delete
  3. If this gets through, and it seems it will, it will be monstrous, disgusting and absolutely bloody f**cking ridiculous.

    I feel sick.

    JJ

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    1. Hi JJ
      I know I do bang on about these wind farms, But we have to do our very best to save what little we can of the wild places from Salmond's insane land-grab.

      This is every bit as tragic as the clearances.

      Already the land has been cleared of crofters. Now Salmond wants to clear it of hill walkers and bird-life as well.

      Delete
  4. There's a sheer determination around this whole process which beggars belief. It's impossible to imagine that the Scottish government can be totally unaware of the environmental damage already done, currently being added to, and planned for the future. So, what is the driver here? It's hard to look past a straightforward case of money talking.

    Alan, as I've commented in the past, I've tried to get responses from not only the BBC as an organisation but also from high and medium profile presenters; never once a response. Credit to Iolo Williams for - separately from his BBC work - actively campaigning against a number of proposals in Wales, including the one in Clocaenog Forest. Is there an equivalent standard bearer willing to go out on a limb for Scotland?

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    1. Hi Dave
      The BBC's Green Taliban would never for one moment countenance any opposition to their insane FoE/Greenpeace driven agenda. They are now so infested from top to bottom by the Islington Luvvies that sensible dialogue on this topic is immediately shunted into the Orwellian confines of Room 101.
      It seems to me that Iolo Williams will soon be chewing down on the leather as the BBC luvvies turn the voltage up to 75%

      Delete
  5. The Times newspaper has written a good piece on this today, which can be found by clicking HERE

    The report has a lovely picture of our coffin from the "Wake for the Wild" protest we held in May 2011 which you can read about HERE

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  6. at the moment i,m off work ill this has just made me feel that bit more worse these people need horse whipping and thats to good for them .

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    1. Sorry to hear you're below par, Chris
      :-(
      I think every single MSP should be taken out for a long weekend, backpacking through the Monadh Liath.

      If they then haven't changed their minds about building wind farms on wild land, then feel free to flay them alive. I think you'll be in a queue to help out.

      Delete
  7. I think quite a few of them should just be taken out...

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    1. But first they should be made to loosen all the holding-down bolts on a wind turbine with a monkey wrench.

      Delete
  8. Each new proposal gets bigger, uglier and more intrusive. When will it stop? Already this one makes the Allt Duine proposal look a small scale operation.

    My Challenge route this year goes straight bang through the middle of the Stronelairg proposal, linking the new reservoir with Chalybeate spring. It beggars belief that an industrial estate could be built in the middle of such wild land.

    SSE are turning out to be vandals of the highest nature.

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    1. And we mustn't forget that this wind farm was scoped out for about 140 turbines - a group of about fifty to the eats of this application hasn't been included... this time around.

      What's the betting that the missing turbines and the fifty will be in the next application before the ground for the 83 turbines' foundations are even dug.

      Then of course the other side of Loch Ness SSE have scoped out 140 turbines for the Balmacaan - with Blairaidh applied for as a tiny fraction of those.

      It's a crime in terms of what they are doing to wild land and wild life.

      And it's only so that Salmond can export electricity to England.

      Delete
  9. I cringe every time I see that smug bastard's face on the telly - he's so out of touch it beggars belief.

    What did Scotland do to deserve him?

    JJ

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    1. Sadly, JJ, Scotland voted him in last time around with an increased and overall majority. He can do what he feckin well likes!

      Most voters haven't a clue what is being done in their name with wind farms because outfits like the BBC (a huge Grauniad set of London Luvvies) believe all the horse-shit about "green energy" that Foe and Greenpeace shove down their throats like a religious cult.

      There's hardly a science 'O'Level between the bastards.

      Delete
  10. My nearest open country is the Gleniffer Braes, and they have been infested with a network of huge pylons for years. Now on the skyline is the Whitelee Wind Farm, the biggest in Europe. I used to love going further north to escape the ugliness - not any more. It's not just the turbines - it's the power lines too. It was clever of the wind power lobby to encourage the use of the name "Beauly to Denny powerline" - it suggests the power is for the people living in Scotland's central belt, thereby discouraging any criticism from that source.

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    1. Yes Marion

      The linguistic contortions are only matched by the developers' half truths: So many jobs, so many homes powered by this and that wind farm (Scotland must have as many homes as England if you believe *that* bollocks) the efficiencies of each wind farm, getting electricity for free, the booming economy of the green sector (they neglect to tell you it's at the cost of the rest of Britain's industry and consumers) and how it is all saving the countryside.

      That's the sickest part of this very unfunny joke. These bastards try and tell you that they are saving the countryside by putting up huge industrial structures, building hundreds of miles of haul roads, hundreds of miles of new pylon runs, countless substations.

      Yes- they say they are saving the planet.

      Bloody Liars!

      Delete
  11. The planning officers should be dragged into the street and… well, I won't quite sink to Clarkson's level…

    Their argument that the wild nature of the area has already been diminished by Glen Doe and other wind farms is unforgivable. It's tantamount to stating "we've screwed up once, it's therefore okay to do it again".

    Equivalent would be being told by a doctor, "well Mr Manning, you've already got headlice and gout, therefore we'd like to give you incurable elephantiasis as well." Unforgivable.

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    1. Exactly the same is planned for the Balmacaan, John.

      There's the pumped storage scheme first, which will provide the access tracks and power exit pylon routes and the Blairaidh wind farm over to the west. Then it's just a case of infilling the whole of the western Balmacaan with over 140 turbines (for the first section) and then another hundred for the north easterly segment.

      Don't think it won't happen. Salmond and Swinney will ram these schemes through despite howls of protest from the JMT, the MCofS and hillwalkers, as this land doesn't have iconic Munros or Corbetts.

      These wonderfully wild lands are, not to put too fine a point on it, fucked.

      Delete
    2. Your last sentence is spot on Alan, but there are still those who think otherwise for some unaccountable reason. I know I'm in the minority, but I also think that the 'protect the best (wild land), forget the rest' policy is a route to disaster.

      On BBC Reporting Scotland last night an aerial view of the whole area (Glen Doe dam etc and beyond) was shown, and will have done little to persuade non-believers that this land should be protected. The quality of that strange, lonely and very beautiful landscape was completely lost.

      On John M's point: 'the land is already diminished' argument is, in my view, a strategy and has been for some time now I think.

      Delete
    3. Hi Gibson
      The MCofS is doing a great job fighting a case by case, point by point job fighting individual wind farms and occasionally are successful in helping defeat the developers. For this, Dave Gibson and his team should be applauded.

      It's a thankless task having to defend wild land against bastards who are only interested in money and are not forced to make a case for destroying something precious.

      I find the JMT's stance more difficult to agree with - they are not fighting every wind farms in the hills, but I am pretty certain that they would fight if the turbines threatened their own properties.

      I thought it was marvellous when both organisations got together a year or so ago as a joint operation, but this seems to have gone quiet. (I might be mistaken here, and if so would be pleased to be shown I am wrong)

      However, it pisses me off royally that both organisations come out with "we are not anti-wind". Anyone who has looked at the economics and politics of wind energy should be against these colossal wind farms. They are *not* about producing green energy - far from it - the CO2 savings are minimal and as i have shown on this blog a few months back, on peat soils there is no CO2 savings compared to convenrional power generation at all.

      Wind is a disgusting scam. The MCofS would get more support if they actually came clean and said this. There are enough data out there now to show prove this beyind any reasonable doubt.

      With the present Scottish Government in power for another two years or so and the possibility (however slight) of winning independence from the UK there is absolutely no chance of the SG changing its mind.

      Scotland's uplands are fucked.

      Delete
    4. Hi Alan - I think if you were to read my comments on various blogs over the years, you'd find that I have always said there was no chance of the Scottish Government changing course.

      Up until now this belief has not prevented me writing to MSPs, corresponding with my local MSP prior to the Scottish election, signing petitions, fighting developments in the Ochils and Strathallan etc. Now though, I'll only fight developments which threaten local hills, since they will not be afforded the same protection as 'wild land', if indeed that protection is ever achieved.








      Delete
    5. Hi Gibson
      I have always been aware of your stance, and I am afraid I have to agree with you.
      :-(

      Delete
  12. Have been witnessing the comments pile onto this post with interest. I fully agree with Alan when he says how frustrated he is with organisations which say 'we are not anti-wind...' Does nobody have a backbone anymore?

    I also think that protecting some land is a slippery slope because developers will then say 'this land isn't protected so...' A good starting point would be to say no to all large turbines in or within sight of all national parks/ NSAs etc. Given that in the Northern Highlands, in particular, the views are so big, this would stop developments in their tracks. For instance, we wouldn't see the 30 turbines currently being built within sight of An Teallach...what a shocker.

    For developments on all other land locals within a 5 - 10 mile radius of a site should have a referendum on the issue - developers get to talk for 3 minutes + those who care about our landscape and real clean energy get to talk for 3 minutes. Voting afterwards. No means no - no appeals etc.

    Anyway, that's my solution. I'm 22 and I find it makes me cringe every time I hear supposedly 'qualified' and 'experienced' politicians talk about 'green' turbines. Have they no impulse to conduct their own research?! I suppose that in the recession having this pseudo industry pumping pseudo money into the economy is a wet dream for the target driven minds of the SG.

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    1. Welcome to the blog, Anon.

      I agree heartily with you! However, there would be the worry that developers would spend more money bribing the locals with the money extorted from the public with ROCs, so I suggest that these should be made illegal. The wind farm would stand or fall on its merits with the local population.

      In areas where there is no local population, like Stronelairg, the wild land would get the veto.

      Delete
    2. Thanks. For wild land areas, then, you go to the nearest population centers and ask them - after all, that is where the BnBs and campsites for walkers/ hikers are. Those people are the ones who know how important the custom of people wanting to enjoy the great outdoors is.

      Fully agree with you on bribes. It wouldn't be legal or acceptable in other situations. In wester ross we have the ridiculous situation of rob gibson, somehow our msp, listening to his green party wife and ignoring locals when it comes to wind farms. He also encourages 'renewable' companies to go into schools and teach kids about the sanctity of their practices. Surely this counts as brainwashing young, malleable minds? Shocking.

      Delete
    3. At Edinbane on Skye, the wind farm was supported by locals and from Vattenfall's press release of 1 July 2010:

      "A two-day celebration to mark the completion of Edinbane Wind Farm, developed by leading European energy company Vattenfall, will culminate today (July 1) with an official opening ceremony and ceilidh."


      "...[the] youngsters were selected to take part in the event after winning a competition to design a device powered by the wind from recycled materials. Their classmates, as well as around 200 children from other local schools, visited the wind farm as celebrations got underway yesterday. The visit brought to life a week of lessons on renewable energy from representatives.

      “Well over 300 local people and school children have visited the scheme in the past two days and we have been overwhelmed by people’s enthusiasm and support"

      Although a long time visitor to Skye I make sure I spend no money in that particular area.

      Delete
    4. I think the time has come for my takeover. I will be merciless.

      All the turbines will be blown up in one fantastic firework display. All those in favour of the things could be tied to the towers to go up with them in the conflagration.

      I would have a separate funeral pyre for the RenewablesUK crowd. Something slow and lingering with no right to appeal to Salmond or the Planning Inspectorate.

      Delete
  13. One we seem to have missed is the proposed Loch Arkaig Windfarm, 15 km North West of Spean Bridge. This is for 91 turbines of blade tip at 298ft. This extends the Loch Ness Ring of steel even further to the West. The potential impact on the Ben Nevis and Aonach Mhor and on the Great Glen Way should be carefully considered. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Business-Industry/Energy/Infrastructure/Energy-Consents/Applications-Database/application/ScopingArkaig

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    1. Hi John

      I was not aware of this wind farm. They are scoping for 91 turbines, 91m to tip, with each turbine rated at 1.3MW capacity. If anyone believes that they'll believe anything! You can guarantee that these bastards will be looking to install turbines at least 125m tall with a capacity of 2.3MW or more.

      The document you link to says:

      "The proposed application site lies within an area identified in the Highland Council Renewable Strategy (May 2006) as having a Presumption Against a Major Onshore Wind Development. As this application clearly falls within that category RSPB feel that the strategy should be properly implemented and you should be (aware?) that any application is unlikely to be successful."

      This will be in the heartland of the Western Highlands.

      It is astounding that the ignorant bastards are even daring to consider it!

      Delete
    2. I was aware of this one back in 2009 but thought it had gone away. The Druim Fada one was approved shortly afterwards I seem to recall. Silly me. These bloody things never go away.

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    3. Good news from Dave Gibson: Its not happening - at least not yet. From the (aptly named) Energy Consents Unit with whom I checked today: David,
      Thank you for your enquiry. I have checked our database and it would appear that the developer has indicated that he will not be making an application.
      Regards
      Gordon Brown
      Energy Consents and Deployment Unit
      5 Atlantic Quay
      150 Broomielaw

      Delete
    4. I thought that was the case but you just never know. Thanks John. Bit of a demotion for Gordon eh!

      Delete
    5. Loch Akraig may not be as dead as we have been lead to believe. SSE, the successor owners of this scheme, have recently attended a Community meeting in the area of Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and Achnacarry Community Council to discuss projects planned for the area. We shall see but on past records this is exactly the scale of development that is attracting SSE at the moment. A contact with this Community Council might be informative.

      Delete
  14. You will also note that Highland Council Planning voted for a site visit with Cllr Donnie Kerr, offering Dog Sled teams if necessary(it was tongue in cheek) Go to Highland Council site and go to webcasting http://www.highland.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/97627 Starts at 9 mins 15 secs.You will note Cllr Prag and the Chair proposed an amendment. From past experience I think it would not be unreasonable to say these two councillors have a preconcieved opinion in support of any proposal and if that was against they would have already been barred from the committee.

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    1. Thanks for that link John - An interesting watch. It confirmed my view that Councillor Prag has no understanding of the issues at all.
      Donnie Kerr & Dave Fallows were first class. How on earth can you possibly make a decision on a colossal wind farm without a site visit???

      As for access to the site, there is a sodding great track that runs the entire length of the wind farm, that was constructed for the reservoir works, that a land rover would easily cope with quite happily.

      Can't these councillors read maps????

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    2. To make finding the video easier for everyone, you can click HERE and fast forward to 9mins 15secs.

      Delete
    3. The issue was access to all the viewpoints some of which are the tops. At this time of year beyond the capability of some councillors whose time sitting in the council chamber followed by lunch has meant that they are not best prepared for a day on the hill. You may have a shorter more apt description. However as several councillors said you don't need to go to every point to appreciate what it is they will be destroying.

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    4. Cllr Prag is of the never mind the quality, feel the width type of mentality. He just goes on about Community Benefit and yet his constituency has one of the worst problems with Community Benefit and everyone falling out over it. He is also a Lib-Dim and despite everying still thinks that sea levels will rise 30m by 2020. Spent too much time watching David Attenborough on the Beeb!

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  15. @ John - yes, I often think one of the merits of dying is that I'll never have to see Alex Salmond's hideous face ever again.
    @ John Manning - actually I would stoop lower than Clarkson. My favoured method of dealing with Salmond et al would be to have baby crows fed into them so that the beaks penetrated their stomach linings.

    All joking aside, it really is too sad for words.

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  16. Julian Herbert. Friday March 22, 2013.
    I have heard that wind turbines last for only 25 years. What rubbish! EACH of the 83 Stronelairg turbines would sit on a concrete plinth of 1800 square metres, with the concrete depth -down to bedrock. Together with the permanent roads and maintenance camps, this will cause water run-off and flash floods for ever. Lochs and rivers downstream will obviously silt up because this windfarm is not on the high crest of the ground but in a water catchment. So why? - Because the land owner, Charles Connel,from Milngavie, Glasgow,has been offered an annual sum of £40,000.00 by SSE for EACH turbine!! - just for allowing SSE to build them on "his" land. I have always understood that a land owner was a custodian of the land for future generations,that he merely holds title to the land and that he should hand it down to future generations or sell it in the same or in a better condition than when he got it. This £3.3 million /year is his reward for destroying a most beautiful part of Scotland! Connel obviously cares nothing for the Monadhliath,the Highlands, or for future generations. Just MONEY MONEY MONEY! People must not complain of higher electricity tariffs when this sort of money is being dished out under the noses of Highland Council! Wildlife may come back, crofters may return, but to what? How will 'we' remove 83 x 1800 x ?m (depth) cubic meters of deep concrete when the days of the wind turbines are over? How will Connel and SSE replace all the peat which has washed away and re-grow the heather on bare rock ? It won't be done , will it? What the hell DO you tell your wretched grandchildren? Well done to the mountain climbing groups and others for trying to fight this destruction. After all the excellent protests and arguments it would appear that The Highland Council has the final responsibility of choosing what our future generations will be left to enjoy?
    Recent statements by SSE say that the "wild" aspect of this area has already been nullified by the Glendoe developments! This is an atrocious admission that the undertakings given by them on the Glendoe scheme, in their environmental impact assessment, are just hogwash! We cannot believe any of these assessments any more ! They are just paper, words, just blatant lies! So what are we to make of their environmental undertakings on the Stronelairg windfarm? These people are just playing on the general ignorance of the average citizen with regard to windfarms! We must get real here because this is a one-off chance to save our heritage. We must not be fooled anymore when they use the word GREEN.

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    1. Hi Julian.

      Thank you for your comment. I'm not sure about the arithmetic behind it but in agree 100% with your sentiments.

      Could you let me know where you found out about the land ownership and the amount he receives in rentals? I have searched all over the place for this information and have been unable to find it.

      Many thanks
      Alan

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    2. Julian Herbert.
      Hi Alan, I know the land owner but am unable to reveal the source of my information on this at the moment. I thought it was common knowledge and shall find out more and let you know.
      The arithmetic- each turbine is 135 meters high and needs a large concrete platform, to support the crane during construction and also this huge chunk of steel.The platform will be 1800 sq. meters( say 50 x 36 meters) and has to be built on the bedrock so they will have to remove peat to a depth of between 2 and 15 meters, depending on the area. The most environmentally threatening aspect of this particular site is that it sits in the MIDDLE OF A LARGE WATER CATCHMENT (would you believe it, in deep peat?) which feeds the River Killin, Loch Killin and the river Fechlin down to loch Ness via falls of Foyers. SSE claims it is 'out of site' , as if they would be embarrassed to have it on the crest. I hope you can pass some of this onto a Highlands Councilor before they go to inspect? -Particularly the building in the water catchment, - which is just another example of how SSE and others rely on public ignorance. because that could get the whole thing cancelled. They will call it an Act of God when the river , loch, and places downstream get silted up.

      Delete
  17. Have you seen this, Alan?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-21895284

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    1. Hi Andy

      Thanks for that - I left a comment about it on the Clach Liath thread HERE

      Delete
  18. Bad news, I'm afraid, Alan. They have changed the name, but the Balmacaan wind farm has been approved by Ewing (they've resorted to the Orwellian strategy of using Gaelic names, sometimes invented ones, to hide the location. In this case they call it 'Bhlaraidh').. Here's the link:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-25777286

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    1. Hi there
      -)
      Yes I spotted that earlier and posted about it on the TGO Challenge Message Board, which you can find HERE

      It is rotten news isn't it?
      I'm currently re-drawing my Monadhliath Maps to make an update posting tomorrow evening.

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  19. Good post there, Alan. Don't know if you also spotted another bit of news recently. It's something that I'd predicted would happen for a long time. It's also something that explains why a certain type of outdoorsy people like wind farms. SNH, the body entrusted with the task of protecting Scotland's natural heritage, lest we forget, has made some incredible statements in a recent report. Wind farms tracks should not be removed, in the (unlikely) event the farms will ever be decommissioned, but rather left in place "to benefit recreation", i.e. presumably, trial bike events and the like. You just couldn't make it up. So, the official body supposedly in trust of preserving nature is giving developers licence NOT to bother about decommissioning wind farms when they become uneconomical (assuming the gravy train will ever stop, which I doubt).
    Sad beyond belief.
    Here's the link:

    http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/news/snh-claims-leaving-redundant-windfarms-in-place-would-benefit-recreation/0010111/

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    1. Yes Andy - I also saw that.
      There have already been calls by greedy landowners for the Beauly - Denny power line construction tracks to be left in place to "improve access for recreation, farming & forestry."
      The developer has been told in the planning approval that these tracks MUST be reinstated. However, it's an easy matter for landowners to get that reversed at local council level - not at Government level - so - you can bet that they will remain.

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  20. One more thing that I was forgetting. Some major off-shore projects have been cancelled or postponed (the Tiree Array and so on) and in general off-shore wind in Scotland is having a slow start (the biggest developments are going to be off the Fife and Angus coast, so that not only shall we get the Nathro Hill farm in the wonderful Angus glens but the views out to sea will be to a seamless forest of turbines. Quite what will happen to the whales and geese using those waters is anybody's guess. But the point I want to make is that because of delays and cancellations of off-shore wind projects I think it's inevitable that Ewing will approve most if not all of the Loch Ness wind farms. They're committed to those delusional targets and they've got to put those turbines somewhere (I know, we can all think of two specific places where they could all profitably be lodged...).

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Hi.
Because of spammers, I moderate all comments, so don't worry if your comment seems to have disappeared; It has been sent to me for approval. As soon as I see it, I'll deal with it straight away.
Thank you!