Scottish Daily Mail
Scotland ‘almost saturated’ with wind turbines
SCOTLAND is at wind farm ‘saturation point’ with applications for some 258 turbines in the pipeline, a campaign group has claimed.
Conservationists warned the developments could ‘ruin’ the landscape and be detrimental to tourism.
It comes as councillors on the Western Isles are this week set to vote on a ten-year battle over controversial plans for 33 turbines on the lsle of Lewis.
They range from 510ft to 590ft – nearly three times the height of Edinburgh’s Scott Monument – making them some of the tallest onshore in the UK.
Campaign group Save Our Hills has said Scotland should reject any more onshore wind farms, at least until development has been planned for the country as a whole.
Spokesman Iain Milligan said: ‘The Scottish Government has some huge projects in front of it and has the chance to either wave them through or stand up for Scotland’s landscape.
‘Communities across the country feel that we are at saturation point and it’s time for the Scottish Government to start pushing back against these massive developments.
‘Too often they ruin the landscape, as one developer after another picks off an area where the last one left off, and offer very little in the way of local employment or profit for the community.
‘In many cases where tourism and hospitality is involved, they result in a net loss.
‘It’s time for the Scottish Government to change tack and start siding with Scotland’s unique scenery over the current incoherent planning and piecemeal wind farm developments.’
Proposals on the cards included a 48-turbine proposal at Sanquhar in Dumfriesshire, an 18-turbine plan for Ayrshire, and a 39-blade submission in the Highlands. There is also an application to erect 48 turbines in Moray.
The application on the Isle of Lewis has been brought forward by Stornoway Wind Farm Limited, a subsidiary of Lewis Wind Power Limited, a joint venture between EDF Renewables and Wood, and was first approved in 2012 but has been amended to have higher turbines. If comlocal pleted, the revised wind farm, west of Stornoway, would have an installed capacity of 184MW, capable of supplying electricity to nearly 230,000 homes.
It is estimated that it could directly support up to 208 full time jobs during its 25-year operational phase.
In a report due to be considered by councillors, Joe Macphee, Western Isles Council’s head of economic development and planning, said the authority was ‘supportive of the proposed development’ but admitted it would be detrimental to birds breeding.
The council admitted the wind farm would be visible across Lewis and swathes of northern Harris, with ‘widespread significant adverse effects’ particularly on the ‘intimate scale and richly diverse character’ around Stornoway.
RSPB Scotland warned that it would threaten the rich bird life on Lewis, particularly a population of hen harriers.
Robin Reid, the charity’s conservation officer on the Outer Hebrides, said: ‘Proposals must be at a scale and located in areas where they do not have a detrimental impact on wildlife.’
A NatureScot spokesman said: ‘We recognise change to some of Scotland’s landscapes, habitats and species is unavoidable, but our approach aims to identify places that will deliver energy with minimal impact on nature. This also allows for positive habitat and species management on development sites.’
‘Stand up for our landscape’