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Thursday, 5 March 2015

Now you see them, now you don’t: Hiding Scotland’s wind farms. And worse still!

Since 2008 Highland Council has been publishing wind farm maps every six months; You’ve all seen them on this blog. Scottish Natural Heritage has also been publishing maps, but the last maps it published were back in the mists of time – back in August 2013.

The last wind farm map from Highland Council (of the area I tend to concentrate on) looked like this:

Highland Council Windfarm Map June 2014

HIGHLAND COUNCIL WIND FARM MAP: JUNE 2014 – CLICK TO ENLARGE

You’ll see that it was published over 8 months ago. We’ve all been waiting for the latest map, to see the industrialisation that is heading our way: So after eight months of hard work, let’s see what Highland Council produced. See below:

Highland Council Map @ 5th March 2015

HIGHLAND COUNCIL WIND FARM MAP, MARCH 2015 – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Surprised? I was too.

“Where have all the wind farms gone?” I hear you cry!

Well, the truth is they haven’t gone anywhere. For what ever reason, Highland Council has removed all the wind farms that have been approved but have not yet started on site. They have removed all the wind farms that have applied for planning consent and they have removed all the wind farms that are out scoping for opinion.

It is now an interactive map which you can find by clicking HERE. The map I have shown above is a screen shot of that map.

Highland Council obviously thought that you did not need to know where all the consented, in planning and scoping wind farms are. Why could this be? Surely they are not under pressure from the SNP Government not to publish the maps with an election coming up? Of course not children. The fluffy, cuddly, SNP would never stoop so low, would they? They say they will add in the missing wind farms “at some point in the future.” Yeah, right. After the election.

I did a little digging (not too much, as I’m degenerately lazy) and modified the June 2014 map myself, and came up with this baby. The red wind farms have arrived in the last eight months. Click on the map to blow it up in a new window.

Highland_Windfarm_Activity_June_2014 UPDATED & Cut down

MY MAP OF WIND FARMS @ 5th MARCH 2015 – CLICK TO ENLARGE

I think you’ll agree that this paints an altogether different picture than the one Highland Council would have you see. In fact, it’s bloody horrendous. Just a couple of points for avid wind farm spotters:

  • The turbines at Aberchalder, at the bottom of the map, will be 5MW jobs, 184m high; That’s over 600 feet tall!
  • The turbines at Culachy, slap bang next to Aberchalder will be 149.5 m tall; that’s almost 500 feet!

What prompted this blog post was another set of maps that were slid out today by Highland Council, with no great fanfare. Highland Council has broken down its region into three parts: ‘Caithness & Sutherland’ in the north, ‘Inner Moray Firth’ in the south east, and ‘West Highland’ in the south west of the region. And here they are:

Onshore_Wind_SG___Map_3_A3_CAITHNESS_and_SUTHERLANDCLICK TO ENLARGE  

 

Onshore_Wind_SG___Map_3_A3_INNER_MORAY_FIRTH

CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

Onshore_Wind_SG___Map_3_A3_WEST_HIGHLAND

CLICK TO ENLARGE

So, what do these maps show? The titles of the maps don’t give us much of a clue. “Draft Spatial Framework Maps” are published as a guide to wind farm developers. It shows them where Highland Council thinks it’s okay to build wind farms.

Take a long, cold, hard look at these maps. Take a look at the areas shaded in a pretty pastel blue colour. These are all places that Highland Council believe it’s fine and dandy to build wind farms. If you thought the map I created was a shocker, it pales into insignificance compared with these babies.

One last thought. Just how, in God’s name, do these maps mesh with the Wild Land Map that Scottish Natural Heritage produced in June of last year? Wild land is to be given additional protection against development.

WILD LAND MAP A1323225

CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

Vote SNP and vote for the complete annihilation of Scotland’s hill country.

24 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting up Alan. I am still reeling ... and very angry. I submitted a FOI as soon as Highland Councils interactive map was released requesting an update of their June 2014 turbine list that accompanied the map of the same date. They have 20 days to respond so brace yourselves. Perhaps we ought to have a sweep. There were just over 1500 Highland turbines constructed, approved, in planning, in scoping in June 2014. I think, based on I recently got 527 in a 22 mile radius of Cnoc an Eas that we could be looking at 2500 - 3000 + . Anyone else want a guess? Whatever it is the SG and THC don't really want us to know.

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    1. Could you let us know the numbers when you get your FOI reply, Lyndsey?
      Thank you.

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  2. Oh dear oh dear. Speechless. Thanks Alan for your efforts.
    On the wild map i am also very surprised that the East coast of Skye has not been designated. Trotternish heights could be trashed as well. God forbid.

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    1. I agree.
      Look closely at that map and you'll find fabulous scenic areas designated suitable for wind farms Loch Quoich (so that's Knoydart screwed) Shieldaig, Fisherfield... I could go on.
      And on.
      And on.
      It's gut-wrenching.

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    2. When was the last time you visited Loch Quoich, Alan? I was there in July and the place is *already* screwed up thanks to 3 hydro schemes, huge new tracks scarring Gleouraich, just below the most magnificent deerstalker path in the country. The worst predictions we were making ten years ago are all coming home to roost, and *they* were calling us scaremongering! And if you check the thread on Allt Duine on Chris' blog, the vilest individual on the web (even more vile than you, my dearest Alan!) is defending the indefensible, saying that it is immoral that we should complain about a few spoiled views when the fate of the planet is at stake... It's folks like him who've made these maps possible.
      If I had tears left to weep, I'd been crying. Those maps are just the worst nightmare come true. Cameron McNeish had a post after the debate last year in which he was saying 'I've been on Bidean Nam Bian and you know what, not a wind farm in sight!', well, look at the map closely, and you'll see that they now consider the back of Bidean as suitable for wind farm scoping! That should please Cameron no end. I wish I'd never seen the hills as they were before this lot destroyed them. A long memory is a bad thing. Everything they said about wind farms, everything, was a lie. And the Longannet announcement is straight out of Orwell... When they say about MP/MSPs having to declare their interests: it would be nice to know where they spend their spare time... How many of them have ever been up North? The saddest thing is that what they're not yet touching is the Glens & Lochs holidays routes, for some reason the blue rinse brigade has been saved the worst of it. Maybe they think the high spenders will be Guardian readers and so won't mind the changes, but the objections from the Assynt hotels seem to indicate otherwise. Lunatics in charge of the asylum seems to sum it up quite nicely.

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    3. Hi Andy
      I walked the length of the north shore of Loch Quoich last May (after a 'difficult' two days through Knoydart) and came across these Hydro schemes. From the road you hardly notice them, but of course there are the roads up to the little dams that have to remain as permanent scars on the landscape.
      There is a mad rush to cram in as many of these smaller Hydro schemes before the Feed in tariff is cut dramatically. Scottish Renewables have written eloquently about this: "Get it while it's hot!" or some such headline.

      With renewables it's all about money; Nothing else matters.

      As for the idiot, Darlow, on CT's blog - words fail me. I would love to spend an hour with him in a remote bothy.

      As you say, the Assynt hoteliers reaction to wind farms speaks volumes. They know that their livelihoods are at stake. They know that tourism will be badly affected by wind farms.

      And all this time, whilst the wealth is being redistributed from the poor electricity consumers to the rich landowners & developers the faux-left Guardian readers are pressing for more and more urgent action to prevent Man made Global Warming - ie build more wind farms.

      If Labour get in in May and form a coalition with the SNP it won't be the mad-hatter LibDumbs at the helm of the DECC, it will be full-blown lunatics.

      Delete
    4. Hi Alan,
      Ah, so you did see the ones along the loch. But the really bad one is the one near Alltbeithe cottage, that's seriously bad. As for the rest, this morning I heard on the news about ISIS bulldozing Nimrud out of existence. And I thought: back in the 1930s, if you were young and idealistic, you'd go to Spain to fight the fascists. You would expect young and idealistic folks to go and fight the fascist ISIS destroying history right now. But no, if you're young and idealistic these days you instead go and "teach" people in developing countries to "save the planet" and applaud the wholesale destruction of our history. I struggle to put distance between the ISIS bulldozers and those that are tearing apart the Highlands. Ignorance, deep ignorance in both cases.

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  3. Very worst fears confirmed Alan: the Wild Land Map is pretty worthless.

    And this morning I read that the closure of Peterhead or Longannet power stations is set to be delayed to secure generating back-up “if the wind drops and Scottish wind turbines do not produce energy”, say National Grid.

    What a bloody shambles.

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    1. It's worse than that, Gibson.
      Longannet will now receive subsidies when it is forced to ramp down production (when wind comes on stream and the Grid can't cope with it). So we are subsidising the wind farms to produce electricity, and when they do, we subisidise coal-fired generation to ramp down.
      Even the "Ministry of Truth" - the BBC - today reported that it is impossible to shut down Longannet, as this will result in Scottish black-outs when the wind doesn't blow at 6:00pm in the winter.
      LINK

      It is now almost certain that Scotland will be importing more electricity from England (and Europe) than it will be exporting from wind. And the price it will get when it is exporting the wind power will be at rock bottom, because there will be a glut available. When it imports the power, it will be at premium rates.

      Utter madness, and to get to this sorry state we are destroying the landscapes, all in the name of "saving the planet."

      Delete
  4. Thanks Alan. Ultimately, it seems this is all being driven by a cabal in the SNP who have zero interest in conserving Scotland's natural beauty. How can anyone who loves the Scottish Highlands vote SNP with a clear conscience?

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    1. I agree, totally Robin.
      They are economically illiterate idiots, who care nothing at all for wild places and the communities who live there.

      Delete
    2. Agree agree agree ... Am so sickened by this outrage that I can't face trying to articulate my own thoughts.

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    3. Hi Jane. My next post (just up) shows the position fro the whole of Scotland.
      :-(

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  5. The SNP only care about one thing, Independance, anything & everything will get sacrificed in the pursuit of this cause no matter how misguided their antics are. Unfortunately 90% of voters are happy so long as they don't see these monstrosities from their cars as they take in the honey spots.

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    1. Hi Paul
      That, of course, is the Scottish Nationalist party's whole reason for being. Salmond saw wind generated electricity as an eventual replacement for the revenues from the North Sea, but piled on the money on red. We can see that that was a massive mistake, but of course the SNP will never admit this, regardless of the complete chaos and destruction of the wild place, it causes.

      It's wilful idiocy.

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    2. And trust me Alan, Nicola Sturgeon is fully worse than Salmond. 91% of the Scottish population think that wild land should be protected? (SNH Survey). Sure they do.



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    3. The comment about not "seeing these monstrosities from their cars" is absolutely spot on, in the same way that the majority of town and city dwellers and suburbanites don't live anywhere within sight of them; apart from those of us who actually visit the hills, that is.

      And that's a real shame: if more people could see the damage being done in the installation and connection of these turbines and have the opportunity to add that environmental cost to the financial cost then minds would be changed; I'm convinced of it.

      Perhaps this is another reason for choosing remote and (relatively) scarcely visited places: "Stick it there; hardly nobody will notice". It's the same mentality which has seen isolated marginal communities regarded as 'disposable' when it comes to the disposal of toxic waste.

      Green energy? Not by any definition .

      Delete
    4. Hi Gibson
      I realised that the other day when I heard Mary Doll expound how the rush to renewables would continue, and indeed accelerate under her administration.
      As mad as a box of frogs.

      Dangerous, really, when you think about it...

      Delete
  6. Addendum: apologies for the multiple examples of mangled English; it can sometimes be hard to be lucid when you're trembling with rage.

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    1. Oh understand that only too well, Dave!
      :-)
      Fortunately I can delete my comment (forever) and republish it with (slightly) better English - well... slightly less mangled English!

      Delete
  7. I don't think that the issue of independence and wind farms are linked at all as Paul suggests. The SNP have been pursuing a wind energy agenda for some time - they are both cynical and ill-informed about this.

    The SNP seem to think that the fact that Scotland is windy quite a lot of the time means that this is an economic power source and they therefore want to exploit it. They care little for the landscape because most voters are in the central belt and are either nowhere near a wind farm or wind farms, such as those near Eaglesham, are on frankly dull and bleak landscape.

    They are also scientifically illiterate (like most politicians) and have bought into the daft anti-nuclear agenda so that they will not invest in what is the most sensible power source if CO2 emissions are to be reduced. They do not understand that the wind does not always blow and generation capacity to cope with this has to be available.

    Sadly, other parties in Scotland are (a) incompetent and (b) equally illiterate so voting the SNP out at the next election probably won't change anything.

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    1. I do think independence and wind farms are linked. Salmond was banking on exporting wind generated electricity over the border, increasingly so as North Sea output dwindled. The best of it (for him) was that the subsidies to produce this surplus came from the Country he was exporting it to. It was a win-win for the SNP - they didn't need to invest to get massive returns, or so they thought!

      As it happens, under CfD, Scottish windfarms are likely to be priced out of the market. As it happens, when there's a glut of 'wind electricity' the spot price plummets and so Scotland gets very little tax revenue. When the wind doesn't blow, Scotland will be importing electricity from England at high prices.

      Salmond was supposedly an economist. Well, his numbers don't add up. He's certainly no engineer, as now Longannet is threatening to close, and will only remain open by additional subsidies when they ramp production down!

      The anti-nuclear stance is just ignorance with a capital 'I'

      I agree that Scottish Labour is also just as incompetent, but if you really want to get rid of wind in Scotland, your only hope is to vote Conservative. Osborne, free of the LibDems fools, will slash subsidies. That will kill wind dead.

      However, the Scots have some perverse hatred of the business party. It seems they want to be controlled by some quasi-socialist state.

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    2. Well, Holyrood does indeed show its respect for the environment in so many ways...

      http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/environment/battle-over-building-on-cairngorm-national-park-pits-government-against-environment.120130421

      Destroying native woodland where wildcats still roam for the sake of a few more retirement homes from folks from down South? Aye, we can do that all right... Wind farms are just one facet of their view of Scotland. After all, the SNP echelons are nothing more than glorified local councillors, and it was thanks to local council that in the 1960s so many historic buildings in town centres were destroyed to make room for soul-destroying buildings. Now they are simply doing to the countryside what they did to historic town centres then. It's in their nature, one might say....

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    3. Quite so, Andy
      More people are eligible to vote for the London Mayor than for the Scottish Parliament.

      The continuing shambles of the Cairngorm National Park Authority is scandalous. Their first duty is to protect the National Park, yet time and time again they support development. They should be put into Special Measures and run from Westminster!
      :-)
      The Scottish Government should certainly have no input!

      Delete

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