£72,532,800; 50 miles of tracks; 200,000 tonnes of reinforced concrete.
What am I talking about? The decision by Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing and the Scottish government to approve the Kilgallioch wind farm and, in the process, show a total disregard for the cumulative impact of the adjacent Arecleoch and Mark Hill wind farms or the nearby Artfield Fell and Balmurrie Fell wind farms.
£72,532,800 is the extra cost to the consumer for this one wind farm alone each year. Every hour of every day, they will get £3780 in subsidy and £4500 for the electricity (averaged out). This unnecessary and erratic generation of electricity is guaranteed to be purchased whether it is required or not. They will even be paid if they have to switch off when the grid is imbalanced.
Small wonder, then, that Jose Ignacio Sanchez Galan, the chairman and CEO of Iberdola, sees its Scottish Power business as the “star turn” in resilient annual trading results.
What do we get out of this, you may ask?
Well, obviously, we get increased electricity bills. We also get three years of misery on our roads – hopefully, we will not get a death as we did for Arecleoch when a Spanish driver drove on the wrong side of the road.
We also get a further drop in tourism (which we can ill afford) and a further drop in house values.
On the jobs front, we will get two rangers to pick up the dead birds in the unlikely event that anyone actually wants to walk this fully turbinised section of the Southern Upland Way – after all, Scottish Power cannot have any walkers seeing the birds that have been killed by the turbine blade tips travelling at nearly 200mph.
Where do our politicians stand on this?
Our councillors have been bullied in to withdrawing their objection by the Scottish government when they should have stood firm.
Of our MSPs, Alex Fergusson has been the most outspoken against these wind farms but it has not been enough. Jim Hume has muttered the usual liberal words about turbines being ok in the right places and Aileen McLeod is in total denial that anything is wrong.
I cordially invite all of these politicians to come for a walk with me to the top of Craignaw at the back of my house and see the destruction that they are allowing to happen. It should not be too strenuous as we can drive most of the way up.
Borgan, Bargrennan, Newton Stewart.
The granting of consent for Kilgallioch wind farm shows that Scotland’s energy policy is out of control and national planning policy is little more than a licence to plunder by the multi-national wind industry.
Killgallioch is a massive industrial installation which Dumfries and Galloway does not need. It will do huge environmental damage in an unspoiled area beloved by tourists, walkers and residents. Both the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage are bodies which rarely object to wind developments.
But both had multiple reasons for slamming Kilgallioch. The fact that the proposal was trimmed from 132 turbines to 96 means nothing, because wind developers know they stand an excellent chance of getting an extension once they have obtained the initial consent.
The “Section 36” process by which giant wind farm proposals gain consent bypasses many of the standard checks and balances in the planning system. The Scottish government is using the Electricity Act for a purpose it was never intended – to wave through massive industrial developments with a minimum of consultation or accountability.
Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing merrily signs off four out of every five Section 36 wind farm applications, destroying great tracts of our most unique and special countryside, all in a quest to fulfil First Minister Alex Salmond’s insane vision of a Scotland becoming Saudi Arabia of wind.
Local authorities are too weak and under-resourced to resist. Sooner or later they cave into government pressure, so the area between Glen Luce and Ballantrae, for instance, now has 550 turbines in the offing.
The only recourse left to communities who want to protect themselves is to challenge the government legally, whether via judicial review in Edinburgh or using the Aarhus Convention in European courts.
Already the government is embroiled in multiple legal actions in both courts over its rubber-stamping of wind farm applications, and more will follow. But such actions are difficult, costly and lengthy, so Mr Ewing and Mr Salmond can carry on with impunity, safe in the knowledge that by the time their wind farm policy is unmasked as an illegal environmental and economic disaster, they will be comfortably out of office.”
Barrachan Home Farm,