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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Talladh-a-Bheithe Power Station

SITE OF TALLADH-A-BHEITHE WIND FARM

SITE OF TALLADH-A-BHEITHE WIND FARM – CLICK TO ENLARGE

A company has been set up specifically to build an upland power station/wind farm in the very heart of the Scottish Highlands. Sadly, this in itself sadly probably wont raise too many eyebrows amongst disheartened hill goers, who are seeing more and more of Scotland’s wild places trashed forever under millions of tons of concrete bases, haul roads, steel towers and huge turbine blades.

But this industrial development is different: Very different indeed.

Last month the Scottish Government launched a map of wild areas – areas that they say will be afforded extra protection from development. Talladh-a-Bheithe is slap bang in the middle of one such area of Wild Land – Area 14.

Let’s see where this wind farm is located: Click on the following maps to make them much larger.

TALLADH-A-BHEITHE LOCATION MAP IN RELATION TO OTHER WIND FARMS

TALLADH-A-BHEITHE LOCATION MAP IN RELATION TO OTHER WIND FARMS – CLICK TO ENLARGE

This wind farm is squeezed in between Loch Rannoch to the South and Loch Ericht to the north. Rannoch Moor is immediately to the west.

TALLADH-A-BHEITHE TURBINE & HAUL ROAD LAYOUT

TALLADH-A-BHEITHE TURBINE & HAUL ROAD LAYOUT – CLICK TO ENLARGE

The above layout seems just like any other large wind farm map. But what it doesn’t show is all the designations of land afforded to this area. The area is packed full of of nationally sensitive wild land. Take a look:

TALLADH-A-BHEITHE: POLICY & DESIGNATION, AND CORE AREAS OF WILDLAND

TALLADH-A-BHEITHE: POLICY & DESIGNATION, AND CORE AREAS OF WILD LAND – CLICK TO ENLARGE

You should be able to blow this map up to a large size, in a new window. Just take a look at what this developer is proposing:

  • The orange hatched area is Area 14 of the Scottish Wild Land Map, and yes, the wind farm lies right over it.
  • The orange hatched area six miles to the south of the wind farm is Bredalbane-Schiehallion Area of Wild Land.
  • The pale green area RIGHT NEXT to the turbines (and covering the route of the Access tracks) is Loch Rannoch & Glen Lyon National Scenic Area.
  • The red area RIGHT NEXT to the north of the wind farm is the Ben Alder Wild Land Search Area (2002)
  • Six miles to the north east is the Cairngorm National Park
  • Six miles to the west is the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe National Scenic Area.

This map alone shows that this developer does not give a monkey’s stuff about wild land. He is prepared to actually build on an area designated just a few days before as Wild Land, with extra protection from development such as this.

How does this wind farm impact visually on the surrounding area? The next map is the ZTV for the wind farm – the “Zone of Theoretical Visibility” map. It shows you where this wind farm will be visible from. Brace yourself: Again, this map can be blown up to a larger size by clicking on it.

TALLADH-A-BHEITHE ZTV MAP

TALLADH-A-BHEITHE ZTV MAP – CLICK TO ENLARGE

What do all the colours mean? At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking that the impact of the wind farm will be most severe in the area of the darker colours – the two purples and pink.

NOT SO!

These wind farm developers are cunning blighters; this is exactly what they always do. In fact, the places where ALL the turbines will be seen are the areas coloured pale yellow. Yes, that’s a massive area. This is quite normal practice - weasel-tactics -  for wind farm developers. Vast areas of land surrounding this proposed development will have an unimpeded view of the industrial wind power station. These areas are beautiful wild land.

Why does this map matter?

In this area of Scotland, tourism is a major employer. People come to visit and stay in the area in holiday cottages, hotels, and B&Bs. These visitors spend their money in local shops, local garages, local restaurants and spend money fishing, on wild life safaris, bird watching holidays, tramping over the hills with a guide. All this money stays in the local economy and each business relies on the other. People come and spend their money here because they love the wild character of the area. They don’t come here to look at an industrial complex with miles of haul road up to sixty feet wide snaking over the hillsides. They will simply not come any more.

Once the tourists go, the local economy will be shot-through. Local general stores, craft shops, B&B’s, hotels and outdoor pursuits businesses will all fold. It will be an economic firestorm. And what will the locals get in return from the wind farm developer? Community hand-outs to be spent on play equipment, village halls and the like, worth about a few million spread over the twenty five year life of the wind farm. The local community won’t need a few million; they’ll need a few million every year. The value of their homes will plummet as the local economy tanks. They won’t have jobs anymore in tourism. They’ll be out of work.

***

So far, the John Muir Trust, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, the Ramblers Association and the North East Mountain Trust have all objected to this wind farm. (Click on each link to see their objections) But numbers of objections count, especially from  folk who are not resident in Scotland, tourists who will no longer be visiting if this wind farm is built – Tourists who will not be spending their money supporting the local economy. The local population are organised and are objecting strongly – you can find their excellent website by clicking on this link: Keep Rannoch Wild

James Boulter has written eloquently about this wind farm and what it means to him. You can find his excellent article by clicking HERE

Professor Ian Sommerville has written a fine piece, which you can find HERE

Please, please, if you haven’t already written to object to this dreadful wind farm, will you promise me you will do so now. The last date to object is almost upon us – the 5th August. We have just one more week in which to voice our objections You can email your objection to this address: representations@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

 

My own letter of objection is below:

 

Karen Gallacher                                                                                                   Friday 18th July 2014

Energy Consents & Deployment Unit

The Scottish Government

4th Floor - 5 Atlantic Quay

150 Broomielaw

Glasgow

G2 8LU

 

Dear Karen

Objection to Talladh-a-Bheithe Wind Farm Application

I write to object to the above application by Eventus Duurzaam BV for consent under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 to construct a windfarm on a site at Talladh-a-Bheithe, Rannoch.

In June 2014 SNH published the wild land map of Scotland. This proposal for a wind farm lays slap-bang in Area 14 of the map – an area that the Scottish Government’s own planning policy says needs strong protection. It also lies immediately adjacent to Glen Lyon National Scenic Area. No amount of “mitigation” to the design of this wind farm will reduce the impact on the qualities of wild land as viewed from any of the adjacent hills, due to the topography of the site. Wild land cannot be ‘created’ elsewhere: it is either protected or it is lost - forever.

The wind farm would be entirely counter to Scottish Planning Policy 2, National Planning Framework 3 and is contrary to Perth and Kinross Council’s spatial guidance.

This developers’ own ZTV map shows the damage to views of the landscape from adjacent view points.

I have been taking my annual holidays walking in Scotland every year for the last twenty years. If this wind farm is built I will not be back. On top of the decision of Stronelairg this is a wind farm too far. I am sure I am not alone in making this judgement as recent polling shows that more and more hillwalkers feel the same. This will have a dreadful effect on local tourism businesses - B&Bs, hotels, shops etc – all of who, rely on tourism to help them survive.

Yours sincerely

Alan Sloman

(Address supplied)

You can easily cobble together an objection using James’ letter, Ian’s letter and mine. It will take you no more than twenty minutes. Do it, please, now. There’s a poppet!

 

Remember – this is what we will lose:

SITE OF TALLADH-A-BHEITHE WIND FARM

The picture is taken from Beinn Pharlagain. The site extends from behind the plantation in the centre up the slopes to the right – Schiehallion in distance.

96 comments:

  1. Letter writted and awaiting collection by the postie, sir!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Already done it.
    Will that **** Noel be along in a minute to rant on about his delusional views.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I take it all back.
      You are a complete Sweetie!
      Cheers, Sweetcheeks!
      :-)

      Delete
  3. Have done:-

    1. Without sufficient ‘balancing’ load provided by conventional power generation, additional wind farms (subsidy-farms) further exacerbate the problem which caused the widespread blackout over north east Scotland earlier this year.

    2. The proponents of the scheme will undoubtably boast that the output will be “sufficient to power xxx homes”.

    2.1 Please insist they put that figure in writing.

    2.2 Ask them how many homes their scheme can guarantee to power for every day of the year?

    2.3 Ask them how many homes their scheme can guarantee to power on 31st December 2016?

    3. Because wind turbines are unpredictably intermittent, will the planners take into account the EXTRA CO2 emissions created by the conventional OCGT generation which has to be run at a lower efficiency specifically to provide output immediately the wind-speed drops. And also for when the wind-speed exceeds the safe-working speed for those particular windmills.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Joe
      :-)
      The developer of Talladh-a-Bheithe has submitted a CO2 emissions calculation, which I am working through painstakingly at the moment. I have already spotted one howler, that affects their answer by a factor of between 2 and 3.

      I am sure there will be more, but you can bet your bottom dollar that when this wind farm is called in, no-one will question it. It is of course, total rubbish, just like all their pronouncements of the benefits of the development.
      The developer is not interested in "saving the planet" from that "dreadful pollutant CO2". He is only interested in farming the subsidies, that make the fuel poor even more poor, the businesses more uncompetitive and the rich land owners even richer. He will of course get rich very quickly.

      Delete
  4. What about the transport of the electricity? Presumably pylons and sub stations.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Welshpaddler
      The substation is proposed to be on site, between Turbines 2 & 3. The wind farm will connect to the existing pylon run alongside Loch Rannoch and thence to the newly constructed massive Beauly-Denny Power line
      Remember, these wind farms don't produce a lot of electricity, so they are assuming the existing line will cope.

      Delete
  5. Everyone should be aware that the Developer is challenging the way Scottish National Heritage has constructed the most recent Wild Land Map. They offer a lengthy detailed critique challenging the map itself.

    It can be found by clicking on this link:
    LINK

    It's a large file, but well worth reading. They challenge the very basis upon which the map has been constructed - going through it brick by brick and trying to rubbish SNH's work.

    They try to establish (for instance) that the fact that a train can be seen (every couple of hours, say) on the West Highland Line, that this means that land should not be classed as "wild land".

    Read it, and be appalled at just how low these complete bastards are willing to stoop.

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  6. Objection lodged.
    The Wind Industry is only interested in the lucrative subsidies that it will attract.
    Will there be any land left free from these useless eyesores?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sandy.
      Every letter of objection counts.
      The problem with wind farms is that is not just the land they sit on that they destroy - it is the land all around them , whose views of wild land are gone forever.

      The ZTV map says it all - every piece of coloured land on the map has been trashed.

      Delete
  7. Glad to see our wild land heritage being looked after Alan. There are few places left here where literally you can't see the hand of man (other than deforestation) and Rannoch Moor, looking west from old Corrour lodge to Glencie is one of them. I note the landowner is a 'major shareholder' in the dutch company (who ironically are dishing out advice on mountains).
    There are two things that stick in the craw. The outrageous attempt to get round a nascent wild land protection scheme and a load of get rich quick merchants coming over from a country with practically no wild land and telling us what they think we should know about wild land.
    Objecting? You bet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This document alone says that the Scottish Government must have tipped the developer off about SNH's revised Wild Land Map, with specific reference to Area 14 increasing in size to include the wind farm location. The Wild Land Map was issued on the same day that the planning application was put in.

      That document would have taken weeks of forensic work to compile. The developer and land owner KNEW all about it, before anyone else. This does not bode well for protesters, as it seems the SG want this wind farm and have in effect undermined their own agency, SNH.

      You can expect to see every developer challenging the Wild Land Map on a similar basis, which means that these areas will be eaten into.

      Delete
    2. They did know about the maps and tried to get their land removed in December 2013, here is a link to their letter (they did not tell anyone in the community they were doing this)
      http://www.snh.gov.uk/docs/A1180467.pdf

      Delete
    3. That letter says it all.
      Underhand, undermining and sneaky.
      A typical weaselly tactic by totally unscrupulous developers.
      In effect they are saying "All wild land is up for grabs - especially our bit."

      Delete
  8. Done, dusted and sent off via Recorded Delivery.

    Talladh-a-Bheithe translates into English as "The Beechwood's Lullaby . . . "

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would like to thank Alan Sloman for his brilliant support on behalf of all the members of Keep Rannoch Wild, a local opposition group to this horrific proposal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Louise.

      This is not something that brings pleasure - I find it heartbreaking that the Edinburgh Parliament could have so little respect for their wild land and the Highland communities who rely so heavily on it for their livelihoods. Of course, the bulk of voters live in the Central Belt and up the East Coast.I often wonder how many of them have been taken into the hills to witness the absolute majesty of the place?

      They appear to have absolutely no soul and are willing to sacrifice this place and the local communities in their quest for English money for Scottish wind-powered electricity.

      It's absolute madness of course, because if the SG gets its way and achieves independence, they will be tendering to supply power to rUK and they will find themselves at the back of the queue, as their electricity will be very expensive. The inter-connectors between England and Scotland will e very busy - with Scotland importing power when the wind isn't blowing.

      I wish you all the very best of luck with your campaign - it seems you are fighting the developer, landowner and your own government.
      :-(

      Delete
  10. I'll be honest and say that I usually don't get very exercised about wind-farms. I set out to do a quick cut and paste letter and thought - NO, I'll write what I feel!

    I feel sick and tired of this slow death that the Scottish country is going through - death by a thousand cuts!!

    So, I've written a letter and emailed it off. One more voice urging sense and reason.

    I think you have been exemplary in the way that you have steadfastly objected to these blots on the landscape and I can only hope that this campaign is successful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Gordon
      These days it's not such a 'slow death,' as these schemes are getting bigger and bigger and are being approved at an alarming rate.

      Delete
  11. Hopped off my fence to send my objection. Feeling a little light-headed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There will be 72 hunky male virgins waiting for you in heaven, all bearing gifts of chocolate and wine.
      Thanks, Louise.
      x

      Delete
  12. Okay, skip the hunky males and I'll take the chocolate and wine. (Why 72?!)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Like that's gonna look good in my Google history!! :-D

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  14. Excellent Alan, keep up the good work.
    My objection was rasied after reading about this over on James Boulters Blog.
    It's enough to make a grown man cry!
    So many good arguments against this kind of development but there is no accounting for greed.
    Like most things its all about money and usually from people who have enough of it already!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Paul.
      With less than a week to go it's important to get as many letter of objection in as possible.
      They do count.
      If the Government Ministers don't care about the local economy they will see that they are wildly out of step with public opinion. You cannot bludgeon your will over the interests of the local population, which is what the Scottish Government has been doing for the last few years.
      Eventually they will be held to account.
      God help them if they choose to go on holiday in this area if they approve this appalling wind farm. They'll need a police escort.

      Delete
    2. They'll need the whole army if they come to Rannoch, I don't think the local police would protect them!

      Delete
  15. This is todays comment from them in the Scottish Energy News in response to the JMT appeal for objections:
    A spokesman for Jones La Salle, the property agents for Eventus BV said: “If a blanket restriction (on wind farms) is applied to core areas, a consequence of this is that a very significant amount of potential installed capacity would be lost and could fundamentally undermine the renewable energy industry in Scotland.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My heart bleeds for the renewable energy industry in Scotland.
      The lying bastards.

      Delete
  16. Good Work Alan> I will have to do my last TGO in 2015 before I return to South America where wild land is really wild. I will email a protest- but will they care about the views of a lone person from +4000Km away ?

    William Burton

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi William!
      It's lovely to hear from you, Sir.
      Yes - your voice is very important. They should really take you very seriously - You have travelled thousands and thousands of miles to walk across Scotland a couple of times at huge expense. Please do write and object, Sir!
      All the very best and I hope to see you next year!

      Delete
    2. Email sent. Hope they read it.

      Good Luck, William Burton

      Delete
    3. Thank you William!
      We shall have to have a beer or two together in the Bree Louise in May.
      :-)

      Delete
  17. Note sent from Ontario Canada on your behalf.
    Just returned from Scotland and hated to see the countryside littered with these industrial wind power generating stations. Seems to me that industrial machines in a rural landscape fit in as well as the SG parliament in historic Edinburgh (but that's just a tourist's impression).
    Here in Ontario, our rural areas are being inundated with IWTs too. Equally as objectionable here.
    Best....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Debbie
      The more objections from those abroad who have visited Scotland and who had enjoyed the wild qualities of these out-of-the-way places the better. These are the folk who are making a determined effort to visit, just for this experience and who will be put off if industrialisation continues.
      I know there's a strong movement against wind turbines trashing landscapes in Ontario, so I wish you and them well.

      Delete
  18. That's my email sent. I feel quite emotional now. May need a drink or two. We'll be up there with the bikes next week. Better make the most of it while there are still hills around without these ineffective, pointless, ugly f*cking turbines on. Sorry to swear on yer blog. Time for that drink.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Tony.
      :-)
      It makes me incredibly emotional thinking about how these businesses are milking the fuel poor to trouser millions and millions of subsidies.

      I remember a two week walking holiday in the Cairngorms when I had just finished my A levels - that was over forty years ago. I was absolutely stunned when standing on the tops. The views were unbelievable - there was miles and miles And Miles of nothing but a ocean of mountains, rolling forever into the distance. I had never experienced anything like it in my life. It was a quasi-religious experience.

      If I was to stand on the same tops now I would witness windfarm after windfarm churning away, catching my eye. You can't avoid these horrendous man-made intrusions into an otherwise beautiful landscape.

      And then you would realise that they are only there for the rich to trouser subsidy after subsidy at the cost of the poor. They have nothing to do with "saving the planet" or whatever hogwash the Green Taliban would have you believe; They are there to make money. Nothing more.

      They disgust me and all those who brainlessly (or otherwise) promote them disgust me even more.

      Have that drink, Tony - You deserve it Sir!
      Cheers, old mate!

      Delete
  19. Hi Alan,

    Please send a copy of your objection to:

    eventus duurzaam B.V.
    P.O. Box 5424
    6802 EK Arnhem
    Netherlands

    Email: info@eventusduurzaam.nl
    http://www.eventusduurzaam.nl (also in English)

    and: VERY IMPORTANT: a copy of both your objection to Scottisch Minister and Eventus Duurzaam BV to :

    First:

    Triodos Bank, Regional office - Scotland.
    24 Hanover Street
    Edinburgh
    EH2 2EN
    email: scotland@triodos.co.uk

    and 2: to the Dutch headoffice of the Triodos Bank:

    Triodos Bank Nederland
    Postbus 55
    3700 AB Zeist
    Netherlands
    email: zakelijk@triodos.nl

    Triodos FB page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/TriodosBanknl
    and the web: http://www.triodos.co.uk/en/business/ or http://www.triodos.nl

    Triodos Bank is a proudly ethical responsible bank and they might be very responsive to a strong community backed objection especially if the local community, John Muir Trust, BMC and the like are supporting this. They act as preferred financing bank for Eventus Duurzaam B.V. which is basically a private equity fund with a focus on the environment.


    Rolf

    P.s.

    Both Eventus Duurzaam B.V. and Triodos headoffice are within 20 km of where I live, and Triodos is the bank I use for my business.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good bit of detective work there, Rolf.
      Thank you Sir.
      I will indeed send a copy of my letter to the two bank addresses and the developer, and would encourage all those who have written their letters of objection to do the same. A very good idea, Rolf.
      Thank you, Sir!
      :-)

      Delete
    2. Good move Rolf!! Twee zielen, één gedachte" I was about to suggest the same, apart from the Triodos Bank thing which is possibly even more effective.
      Alan; I would suggest to send them a link to this blog post as well.
      Let's mobilise Dutch public opinion.
      Letters written, copied and posted.

      Delete
    3. That's a good idea, Willem - I'll do that
      :-)

      Delete
  20. I walked right through this area on the TGO Challenge this year - stunningly beautiful.

    Letter(s) written, signed and ready for posting in the morning.

    Bernie Clark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew I had read an account of a Challenger walking through the area this year! Well done Sir! It was on Andy's and my route a couple of years ago, but we got sidetracked to a wonderful B&B at the Bridge Of Gaur... (Southern Softies, eh?)
      Thanks for writing, Bernie.
      You're a shiny star, Sir!
      :-)

      Delete
  21. Objection lodged. Where will it all end? (shakes head in despair....)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Janet
      Many thanks for that. How's it going with Brown Muir wind farm?
      It is utterly depressing having to fight to preserve what is natural gift. It should be the developers having to justify them, and paying huge fees to do so so that there are adequate funds for a fair legal fight.

      Delete
  22. Alan, my comment on Chris Townsend's site was that this one is so preposterous that you'd expect it to attract ridicule for even being floated as an idea.If any further proof were need that anything goes, this provides it.

    I've loved Glen Lyon for years; particularly the feeling of uninterrupted space receding into the distance. Needless to say, I'll be adding my voice to the protests.

    This one is so bad, it actually surprises me. I thought I was beyond surprise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said, Dave
      What really worries me about this application is the developer's forensic attack on the SNH Wild Land Map. If the credibility of the map fails, you can kiss any sort of "extra protection" the Scottish Government promises.

      Get that letter of objection off Sir, pronto!
      :-)

      Delete
    2. It suggests to me that the confidence of the developers is growing, to the point where they have cultivated an "anything we like, anywhere we fancy" approach. If there are protests, we'll steamroller 'em; if the objections happen to be successful, we'll get our chums in Holyrood to overrule the decision.


      Delete
    3. In my letter of objection I asked the question whether the majority party in Scotland, and the one campaigning most actively for a 'Yes' vote, had actually considered the implications of an independent Scotland with its tourism industry decimated.

      I thought it was a fair question.

      Delete
    4. Sadly, I'm pretty sure you're right Dave. Stronelairg would never have got through without Holyrood's implicit support. It stinks worse than a barrel of month old fish.
      :-(

      Delete
  23. Alan
    I have sent my objections as a tourist and copied you on the email for good measure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Craig - I have just got home after an evening out. That's a wonderful letter you have sent and it ought to make a profound impression with the planners.
      Thank you, Sir - and may thanks to Vicky too.
      See you in May!
      :-)

      Delete
  24. As ever you can be relied on to do a fantastic job - many many thanks for all your hard and passionate work Alan. I, too, have sent off a letter and also copied in those addresses suggested by Rolf. It is almost beyond belief what is happening to our beloved Highlands.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mary.

      Wading through developers' proposals is hard work, as some of the more salient documents are often given titles that are not, at first glance, what they purport to be.

      For example "Review of SNH Potential Core Areas of Wild Land" is not actually a review at all. The term 'review' would suggest that the developer is giving his opinion on SNH's work on the Wild Land Map. This document is nothing of the sort though; It is a forensic attack on just one area of wild land - Area 14. This of course is the area that increased slightly in size from 2002 to the 2014 map, taking in the area of this particular proposal.
      This document will be fundamentally important in the decision making process.

      What this means is that you have to wade through every single one of the developers' documents - and this has taken me hours and hours of work and reading.

      I am currently working my way through their spreadsheet which calculates the carbon dioxide that will be supposedly saved with the building of this power station. I have spent hour on this and am fairly sure there are a couple of very large "mistakes" - which are of course in the developer's favour. I'm absolutely sure that when this document is passed to whoever will be making the judgement on the go-ahead of this development they will not bother to examine the calculations - they will assume the developer's team will have done it correctly.

      My little experience so far looking at developers' wind farm submissions has shown me that the developers never actually lie outright - but they do not certainly do not tell the truth as they leave out significant information and calculations that go against their case.

      I have learned not to trust them as far as I could throw them - and that goes for the Scottish Government as well - who are happy to support these half-truths and omissions as it suits their woeful energy policy.

      Delete
    2. I applaud the determination of everyone who has posted here to stop this appalling desecration of Scotland's finest wild landscapes. The question that plagues me is: "Why are so many people in this country fighting shy of getting involved?"

      I visited friends in Assynt at the weekend. Suilven and Canisp and Cul Mor are the views from their windows. One of them pleaded for people who don't object to wind farms in wild places to be allowed to have their view. The other wept because, although she has objected to the desecration of Rannoch, she couldn't bear to see me, an old friend, being "eaten away" by my passion for Scotland's hills and wild places.

      Is there some kind of shame attached to standing up for what you care about? That notion is alien to me. Is there any pride to be got from hiding your head in the sand and carving out a tiny, constricted, artificial world for yourself to hide in while around you the magnificence of Scotland is blighted by ignorant toads? That idea had not occurred to me.

      There is a rather nice little recent post by a certain Willie Ross on Cameron McNeish's blog - re his over-optimistic praising of the NPF3 and its ban-that-is-not-a-ban of turbines in National Parks - which effectively cuts through the cr*p. The reply from CM is rather sad.

      Delete
    3. Hi Jane
      I've wondered the same and came up with the following reasoning:

      The green NGOs are well funded from well-intentioned individuals & companies. They also receive quite a lot of money from the EU. They have been strong proponents of wind energy as well as other renewables, but it's wind that is the main sector in renewables.

      These NGOs have very effective PR; they are masters of tweaking the heart-strings to empty wallets for their usually very just causes. You recall images of polar bears, bloody whaling, seal pups being clubbed. These NGOs, in the mind of the public, are trusted.

      However, these are not the same NGOs that they were when they were set up. They are now dominated by the left of centre, who don't have too much sympathy with business. They are also committed to reversing climate change. Of course, the only real tool they have in their box is wind farms, because they believe that wind energy produces less CO2 than the current mix of power generators. In the main, these NGOs are not made up by teams of engineers, scientists or economists. They do not understand that building wind farms on peat soils saves no CO2. They are also predominantly city dwellers; that's hardly surprising as most people live in cities.

      So what we have is a toxic mix of young, generally left wing, arts biased city dwellers with a strong PR machine behind them, who are totally trusted by the general public, who believe that Greenpeace, FoE and WWF's main concerns are saving seal pups, whales and pandas and who are telling them that the earth is warming dangerously quickly and that it is all man's fault. They offer wind farms as the magic bullet.

      Now the public are onside it's a very brave politician who goes against such strongly held opinions. Miliband told folk that to criticise wind farms was akin to speeding past an infants' school and socially unacceptable. When he was Labour's Energy Minister he put in place the vast subsidies that fund wind farms. David Cameron, desperate to be elected, promised to be the greenest government ever. He went off to Greenland to Hug a Husky. And very few of these politicians actually believe any of it. But politics is the art of the possible and so right now we are shackled by policies they are scared shitless of changing.

      Going back to the general public; If you don't give people the facts they can hardly be criticised for their unquestioning support of wind farms. They are told, and so believe, that losing a bit of wild land (that most don't know is even there, let alone a place they would want to visit) is a small price to pay for saving the planet from the Dangerous Threat of Man-Made-Global-Warming.

      I honestly don't think this is an issue about shame, or fighting shy of getting involved. Most people honestly don't know about wild land and don't know anything about the issues.

      I have spent three and a half years writing about these problems on this blog, as I realised that it was only by presenting the truth about wind energy, wind turbines, the price of electricity and the lies spread by the renewables sector & NGOs that people would start to question what they were being told.

      I realise that I was speaking to a tiny audience of mainly hill walkers but I thought at least these were people likely to want to get on-side and fight these dreadful wind farms in wild places.
      I despair that folk like Cameron McNeish support the Scottish Government's energy policy, as he is a trusted figure in Scottish homes, and doing so he undermines the fight against wind farms.

      I suggest we ignore the man, and get on with spreading the word about what the Scots Government is actually doing to the wild places. It's pointless arguing with McNeish as he has made up his mind, and for whatever his reasons, he is not going to fight wind farms whole heartedly. His silence on Talladh-a-Bheithe speaks volumes.

      He doesn't give a stuff, especially if it loses him influence within the SNP and especially if it hurts his income stream.

      Delete
    4. Hi Alan,

      I tend to agree with you. However, with regard to the general public, I still can't understand why so few people take enough interest in their surroundings/the land they live in to want to investigate whether the pap they are being spoon-fed is actually true. I was born in Glasgow, lived there, lived in Edinburgh, lived a long time in Paris and then came to my senses. Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries on this planet and I fail to see how anyone can call themselves a patriot or vote Yes without considering the importance of Place and Landscape in defining Scottish national identity. Humans are Guests in these wonderful places.

      Sorry, grief makes me ramble. I liked your post on CM's website. I posted a reply to Willie Ross's comment myself last night but, guess what, it doesn't seem to be there ... !

      Delete
    5. I agree with you, totally, Jane
      If you look at people who are active in politics - at any level - it is incredibly low. Most people either don't think that their opinions will matter, and others have too much going on on their lives to spare time to things that they feel they will have little effect.
      Of course, there are others who don't give a stuff.

      I *did* see your post on CM's website (indeed I have been emailed a copy of it, and I saw it there myself last night. This can only mean that Cameron himself removed it, which is a very poor show.

      I shall paste it below for you!
      :-)
      Jane commented:
      "Excellent swordplay, Willie, thank you for cutting to the chase and the quick. That the name of “Rannoch” should be uttered in the same breath as “wind farm” – other than in statements of the kind “It is of course out of the question that areas such as Rannoch Moor could EVER be considered suitable locations for wind farm development … ” – is an assualt on Scottish identity. Place is the foundation of everything. We, as humans, are guests in that Place. That the Scots don’t recognise this is, frankly, dismal."


      Nothing controversial. But of course, it does shred the SNP Government's energy policy to shreds. Could that be it?

      Delete
    6. Ah well, Alan, it appears that the thread we had all been commenting on has been discontinued by its originator as he feels enough has been said on the subject. I know you know this. Amazingly, he seemed to have it in for *my* posts in particular. I wonder if this was because I was the only female contributor to the thread ... Only joking, as one must in order to stay sane.

      Delete
    7. I left a comment on that blog last night, pasting in a comment from Tom Forrest that the blogger had removed.
      This morning my comment was removed.

      However - I had already taken screen grabs of the removed comments in the context of the discussion. They will be appearing on this blog in the next few days in a post discussing comment threads on blogs.

      There'll be no mincing around - the blogger will be named & shamed.

      Delete
    8. He's become quite the politician himself, hasn't he? Use enough caveats and weasel words and your views will eventually become so opaque as to be meaningless; which I suspect is the objective - it is, after all, how politicians work.

      As a friend of mine is inclined to say about politicians of all shades: Same ****s, different coloured ties.

      Delete
    9. As a very famous politician once said, Dave, "Now you might very well think that, but of course, I could not possibly comment."
      Francis Urquhart

      Delete
  25. Would it be visible from the top of schiehallion (a very popular walk), looking west towards what used to be the Rannoch moor wilderness? I think schiehallion is just off their visibility map.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi 'Anonymous'
      (You don't have to remain anonymous, you know! You can leave your name if you wish at the end of a comment.
      Simple answer: Yes!
      See this map which shows that every single turbine in the wind farm will be visible from Schiehallion.
      ZTV MAP OF S.E. QUARTER

      I really should have published all the ZTV maps but I wanted a balance of readability and data - too much data sometimes puts readers, and hence possible supporters, off!
      I hope this answers your question.

      Delete
    2. Thanks. Will mention that in my letter.

      Paul Toolazytologin

      Delete
  26. Hi Alan

    Lynne and I have written objecting - which I'm sure comes as no surprise. I agree we should ignore Mr McNeish, which is hardly a difficult thing to do. I have utter contempt for the man.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gibson, and Hi Lynne
      Thankyou to you both.

      Our letters should have an effect.
      :-)

      Delete
  27. I would like to point everybody to two excellent documents submitted by the local's opposition group "Keep Rannoch Wild"
    The first is their detailed Objection document, which takes effectively apart a lot of the developer's spin and over simplification and takes on head on the concerns over tourism impacts, employment and property values. It is a no-nonsense document that is a credit to them. They put this together at breakneck speed.
    You can find it by clicking
    HERE

    The second document I would encourage you to see is the supporting photographs that show far better then the developer's document the area of wild land that is going to be trashed from a number of far more relevant locations.
    You can find that by clicking
    HERE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Alan, we tried our best, it's so unfair that the developer has had 6 years to prepare their submission and we only get a few weeks to respond. Good job Keep Rannoch Wild has so much local support with members willing to put the work in.

      Delete
    2. Hi Louise.
      I totally agree. And of course you have to raise the funding at break-neck speed to prepare the document. It is a grossly unfair system that penalises the inevitably small communities where these wind farms are proposed.

      Is there any way of finding out how many letters of objection have been sent in so far?

      Delete
    3. I phoned Energy Consents on Wednesday, they had 255 lodged but it sounds like they are really behind, I had more than that copied to me! Guess they can't keep up with all the wind farm applications.

      Delete
  28. The developers have today put a new FAQ on their website with a piece about why their development should be allowed in a wild land area (first time they've actually admitted that it is in a mapped area of wild land) - thought you might like to see it http://www.tab-windfarm.org/faqs.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the heads up on that, Louise. Here's a clickable link to make for easier access to the FAQ:
      LINK
      It shows clearly how they are going to challenge the Wild Land Map and that they think Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Planning Policy (Para 215) invite them to do so.
      This means that in their minds, the Wild Land Map makes no difference at all..

      Delete
    2. Good find Louise.
      The real question is, Alan, are Ministers going to enable developers to play fast and loose with Wild Land, thereby making a mockery of SNH and its work? Are they going to allow a piecemeal approach, on a case-by-case basis thus making no difference at all? - or are they going to come out with proper guidance?

      Delete
    3. Hi, Wind Energy's Absurd (Snappy monicker!)
      :-)
      Short answer? Yes, of course.
      They already have form: They deliberately removed the area around the proposed Stronelairg wind farm from the Wild Land Map immediately prior to publication to grant it approval.
      For the S.G. to meet it's own targets of 100% equivalent electricity generation from renewables they are going to need 70% more onshore turbines than are currently built and approved.
      That's why there is the implied invitation in Scottish Planning Policy, Para 215.
      You can bet your last Scottish Poond that there will be no more guidance. The Wild Land Map has never been more than a flimsy fig-leaf for the SG to hide behind.

      It reminds me of this cartoon - where Lucy is the Scottish Government:
      PEANUTS

      Delete
    4. Class cartoon - very apt, Alan.

      Re snappy monicker - says it all really. Originally (B) Wind Energy's Absurd and Twitter handle is still (@) Real BWEA!! Remember them?



      Delete
  29. Alan - this is what we put up after the Dersalloch decision; we thought perhaps readers of your blog might like to have a look at it as well.

    It transpires that it was within the powers of Scottish Government Ministers to decide whether to hold a PLI with regard to Dersalloch. It wasn't simply that because South Ayrshire Council didn't object from the word go, but objected subsequently, that precluded a PLI.

    So the Ministers have decided to ride roughshod over the Council and the nearly 5000 objectors.

    Ministers seem to be making law on the hoof.

    If we consider the Wild Land issue:

    NPF3 addresses Wild Land

    o Para 3.24 says that “spatial frameworks should guide new wind energy to appropriate locations taking into account important features including wild land”

    o Para 4.4 says “we also want to continue our strong protection for our wildest landscapes – wild land is an important asset

    SPP2 addresses Wild Land

    o Table 1 lists Wild Land as a nationally important mapped environmental interest to be given significant protection

    o Para 200 – which confirms the sensitivity of remote land. It states “Plans should identify and safeguard the character of areas of wild land as identified on the 2014 SNH map of wild land areas”

    NPF3/SPP2 PR dealt with Wild Land

    o It states “We have taken steps to ensure that no wind farm developments can go ahead in our cherished National parks and National Scenic Areas, and we have strengthened the protection of wild land, with new maps and inclusion directly in the SPP and NPF3”

    The Limekiln s.36 Inquiry Correspondence deals with Wild land in a different way

    o In response to a request for a SG Policy Witness the correspondence eventually produced the following from the SG

    o “wild land policy, like most policies, is open to interpretation depending on the particular circumstances at hand – in the case of wild land depending on the context around the wind arm proposal in question. The interpretation of policy ………needs to be flexible depending on circumstances. It is ultimately for the Ministers …..to interpret policy for the purposes of making a decision”

    Conclusions

    o “Interpretation” seems to be the watchword for Ministers

    o So, the “strengthened” protection of Wild Land will depend on circumstances

    o Does the “interpretation” also extend to the banning of wind farms from National Parks and NSA’s

    o Is this a classic example of Ministers spinning one message about protecting Wild Land whilst enabling themselves to “interpret policy” “depending on the context” so as to approve wind farms in these supposedly protected areas.

    There appears to be no effective cohesive body which is able to prevent the Scottish Government doing just what it wants to do, in the name of the Scottish people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for that - Most illuminating:
      The Scottish Government can do what it damn well likes and the locals who object will be ridden straight over in the interests of a Woeful Scottish Energy Policy.
      SNAFU.

      Delete
    2. Can one chain oneself and one's tent to a piece of peat bog in the targeted area in order to protest? (Answer: Yes, but you wouldn't get any media coverage since the BBC would turn a blind eye, so you'd just get very soggy and driven mad by midgies ... )

      Delete
    3. To be honest, Jane, I realised years ago that Scotland's wild lands were going to be ruined under Salmond's administration, as he had upped the target for Scottish renewables massively over those set by the EU and Westminster. Simple maths showed that the wild land was going to be swamped by turbines. So in 2011 I organised the Wake for the Wild
      It seems I was absolutely spot on - Scotland's government is still hell-bent on destroying it's treasures.

      We had coverage from the Times, local newspapers and even though the BBC didn't give a stuff, a couple of European television stations did think it was newsworthy and sent a crew to cover it..
      The BBC did't give a stuff.

      Delete
    4. I think I still have the email somewhere from a journalist where he outlined the futility of trying to get the BBC to cover the issue of turbines in an even-handed manner. Of their higher profile natural history presenters, I think the only one I have ever heard speak out openly on the subject is Iolo Williams and he - to his credit - is actively supporting the protest against the clear-felling of Clocaenog forest to accommodate turbines.



      Delete
    5. Indeed, Dave.
      The BBC is hamstrung by the 28Gate meeting.
      Those guys dictated policy and are still in control, be it at the beck & call of the NGOs

      Delete
  30. I don’t think many of us thought that the Wild Land Map offered any material protection to
    Wild Land. It wasn’t safe before the map and it isn’t safe now.

    Worse still, it has made it much more difficult to credibly oppose wind farm proposals in other areas and, take note all who live in areas outside the designated wild land areas, the MCoS in their Letter of Objection, Section 4 Material Considerations, paragraph (e) write:

    "Its (Talladh-a-Bheithe) anticipated contribution to electricity generation (equating to only 0.34% of the amount generated in Scotland in 2012) can be provided through consenting of other developments not located in Wild Land"

    Exactly how much credibility will the MCoS have if and when it objects to ‘other developments not located in Wild Land’? - say in Trotternish on Skye? Zero.




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think both JMT & MCofS have been out-manoeuvred by ScotGov.
      As soon as you create these areas you invite their encirclement - which ruins the land anyway as you can see the developments from within the areas.
      I recall you saying this would happen years ago, Gibson.
      I think the anti-wind farm campaigners have been all too gentlemanly. There should have been more aggressive campaining - stopping delivery trucks on roads, more fuss/ demos at Holyrood. Scotland against Spin & Linda Holt have has the right idea - demos at SNP conferences - make the politicos more aware with a bit of heckling when they are not expecting it on Question Time etc, getting the problem aired on national TV.
      *sigh*
      The JMT bottled taking the Scot Gov to court over Stronelairg (after drawing a line in the sand!) - and I suppose that was the end of it.
      We are now left with developers picking off areas of land at their choosing and the planning laws allowing it.

      Delete
    2. As usual Alan, you've hit the nail precisely on the head. I don't know how many walkers are staying away from the Highlands because of wind farms but just today Lynne and I have been discussing cancelling a backpacking trip planned for next May. Twice this year we have taken holidays outside Scotland.

      Delete
    3. "I don't know how many walkers are staying away from the Highlands because of wind farms..."
      You won't be the only walkers staying away, Gibson. My friend Phil Lambert and I have done about ten TGO Challenges together over the years and he & I have both come to the same conclusion that after next year's Challenge (my 20th) we won't be back. By then, Stronelairg will be under way, Dunmaglass built, Dell will have been consented (it's inevitable) and probably Talladh-a-Bheithe as well.
      It's getting more and more difficult to plot a route across Scotland now to avoid windfarms and their dreadful haul roads and pylon runs. The Beauly-Denny line alone is a massive scar we have to cross.
      You can find an excellent post by Phil that lays out our reasoning perfectly.
      Click HERE to read it.
      Instead, I'm probably going to the Alps or Pyrenees, with shorter forays to Scotland where I know there are no turbines.
      It's incredibly sad.

      Delete
    4. Tragic Alan. Recently the Frandy Hill (Ochils) Windfarm proposal was refused on appeal and it seems likely, though not admitted, that the objection from Gleneagles Hotel (owned by Diageo) played a major part in the decision. The Ryder Cup takes place at Gleneagles in September and with coverage being beamed across the world, including no doubt the very fine view up Glen Eagles, the word around here is that the SG did not want 'golf tourism' damaged by unsightly turbines being visible from the golf courses. We hill walkers are obviously of much less importance than golfers.

      Excellent post from Phil which says it all really. Enjoy what remains of the summer - it's a beautiful autumnal morning here in Kinross-shire!

      Delete
    5. It has been obvious to the SG that turbines do impact upon tourism, but they have relied upon out-of-date (skewed) surveys that support their public proclamations that they in fact increase tourism.
      And so they are happy destroying their own countryside ~ all to flog a few intermittent MW to what they hope will be a foreign country.

      Have a good time in what remains of the summer, Gibson.

      Delete
  31. Murdo Fraser MSP (conservative) has lodged a parliamentary motion no. S4M-10744 details are on the MCofS News Page http://www.mcofs.org.uk/news.asp?s=2&id=MCS-N11475&nc
    Keep Rannoch Wild is asking all Scots whatever their political views and party alllegiances, whether they are voting yes or no in the referendum to stand together to protect the one thing Scotland is famous for - it's magnificent wild scenery.
    All you have to do is email your MSP's asking them to support this motion, if it gets cross-party support it's going to be difficult for ministers to approve the planning application. This is probably even more important than the objection letters.
    Please all Scots just take a couple of minutes for an email details are on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Keep-Rannoch-Wild/1503423759871338

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that, Louise.

      A clickable link to the MCofS news article is HERE

      A clickable link to the Facebook page is HERE

      Delete
    2. JMT are seeking a judicial review of the Stronelairg decision. The fight ain't over yet. They are calling for donations to fund it.

      Delete
    3. Good morning Jane.
      It IS a good morning isn't it?
      :-)
      Yes - I had the email from JMT in my inbox this morning as well.
      Good for the JMT - at last - a fighting fund is being launched to take the Scottish Government to court!
      I'll be writing a post on this ths evening.
      :-)

      Delete
    4. Actually, I found out the news BEFORE the e-mail came through. I've become so obsessed that I check WEA and everywhere else before I head out to work in the morning. Donation already sent. Amazing, isn't it - work work work to pay tax tax tax, then pay through the nose for electricity and THEN keep putting your hand in your pocket to support conservations bodies and community groups to redress the wrongs done by the undemocratic organisations you've just paid tax to ... and I suppose they use the taxes to fund their undemocratic actions. Just as well I work a lot lot lot.

      Delete

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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!