LETTERS: Birds pay price of windfarms

Birds have been among the first and most high profile casualties of the increasing numbers of windfarms.

Dispute rages between conservationists and windfarm development advocates about how many and with what consequences. Such arguments about facts and figures are a feature of planning applications, such as the 11 turbines proposed for Lochinvar by St John’s Town of Dalry near Loch Ken, where red kites were recently reintroduced at considerable cost and which are now also of considerable interest and profit to the tourism industry.

The developer, 2020Renew-ables, insists the projected deaths of 8.33 red kites over the 25-year life of the proposed windfarm would not impact on the national population of red kites. Protesters argue that it is hardly a tourist attraction to feed red kites on Loch Ken one day and the next watch them possibly colliding with almost 200 wind turbines proposed in this most scenic area of the Glenkens.

Adverse impacts on bats and bees have also been shown and proposals to mitigate them promoted by those who stand to profit from the construction of windfarms. Such mitigation, it is said, would be monitored but, in the meantime, as protesters point out, creatures and the interdependencies among them, are at risk and any consequences could prove disastrous for whole ecosystems, the wildlife they support and our farmed land, where already we are seeing the unsuspected impacts of modern farming methods on bee populations.

There is now clear and mounting evidence of some of the adverse impacts on the social, economic, psychological and medical wellbeing of human populations living near windfarms, as has been recently illustrated by the research and analysis published by the Buddhist monks at Tharpaland in the Forest of Ae by Dumfries. Their 27-year history of meditative retreat, care for those at risk and education for those who seek deeper insights is now at risk from the imminent nearby construction of the Harestanes windfarm.

Protesters from across Scotland, under the banner of CATS (Communities Against Turbines Scotland), believe it is now time the Scottish and the UK governments weighed the so-called benefits of windfarms, increasingly being challenged, against the costs – not just to our pockets but also the life and wellbeing of all living creatures.

Alison Chapman,

Co-ordinator for GLARE (Galloway Landscape And Renewable Energy),

PO Box 7479 Castle Douglas.

Galloway – Wigtownshire, in particular – is being humiliated by windfarm developers who insist they are saving the environment.

They lie. They are here to make a profit. Windfarms produce little and intermittent electricity. Most of the time they do not work. They serve no local need, not even for the farms and homes here where, in 2012, there is still no mains electricity.

How can the blade of a bulldozer ripping up 6000 years of beautifully preserved archaeology from the interaction of man and grazing animals – 6000 years beautifully preserved by hill grazing due to our climate – be saving the environment? How can the massive industrial infrastructure and millions of tons of concrete on peatland, aided by forestry clearances serve the few local people left in the culture of agriculture to cherish the iconic landscape where they live and work?

Have we not learned from the destruction of the shepherded hills in Galloway? Does the RSPB not care if turbines, scupper the skeins of greylags en route to Wigtown Bay or the curlew still on Culvennan Fell? How can the turbine blades smashing a golden eagle to bits be saving the environment?

M V Armstrong,

Clachan of Penninghame By Baltersan, Newton Stewart.