To get the gain, suffer the pain
Sir – Mr Cliff Robertson obviously does not understand the situation here in the Glenkens.
There is a large section of the community who do not want any more windfarms to be built regardless of the “compensation” or “bribe” (depending on one’s point of view) because they are ruining the beautiful visual amenity of the area.
Those who do want them cannot decide amongst themselves who should administer this money. The Glenkens and District Trust, which should have been the impartial administrator of the funds, seems to be unable to be impartial, so much so that Blue Energy, who built Blackcraig windfarm, set up their own operation to decide where the money should go.
But now, even this seems to be in jeopardy, as they have sold the windfarm on and there is certainly no guarantee that the new owners will pay anything.
Those of us who are against more turbines find ourselves having to accept this “gain” (if any) as compensation for 25 years of disruption to the population and tourism in the area.
Some residents are already threatening to leave if the developments continue, which is completely opposite to result that was hoped for when the council, in its wisdom, tried (and succeeded) to bring people in by relaxing the planning restrictions for building in the countryside some years ago.
Where we are now is that if all the presently proposed windfarms are allowed, there will be a 20-mile wall of turbines from near Dalmellington to Blackcraig.
Since there is no planning strategy for this, developers can treat each scheme in isolation so that their literature to an outsider comes across as very reasonable. One windfarm might perhaps be welcomed, though I personally believe they should all be placed offshore where their visual impact is minimised.
The very latest proposal is for three more schemes of turbines (one scheme has been reduced – cynically – from 15 turbines to 14) which will be 149.5 metres tall. This is taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt (which is 146 metres).
In addition, what many people miss is that during the construction phase, many thousands of tons of concrete have to be manufactured for the bases (how green is that?), many tons of stone and gravel have to be transported over many miles on very inadequate roads (how green is that?) and the result is that the very small country roads have to be upgraded in order to transport massive components to very inaccessible places (how green is that?).
It is true that our planners and the councillors do sometimes reject applications for various reasons and recently we have seen this happen.
However, often on appeal to the Scottish Government the developers are allowed to proceed, the decision to over-rule the local democratic decision being made by one man in Edinburgh. What has happened to our democratic system of government?
To sum up, Mr Robertson, if you want the gain then you have to suffer the pain, I’m afraid.