Welcome to the Highlands

Welcome to the Highlands, the land of  sparkling Burns, The Heather hughed Glens, High Mountains where the Eagles soar, a land of Deer and Salmon, Kilts and Pipes. The Corbetts, the Grahams and the Monros. A place to revitalise the Spirit and the Soul. This is a land of proud people, people that will give any man the time of day.

But today a certain sadness pervades all. In a desperate drive for fame our politicians have sold Scotland and its wild places to the lowest bidder. The march of the wind factories is heard in the Glens. Tourism for Scotland is dead. Our way of life crushed beneath the greed of mostly foreign adventurers and aided by our Government and Planners.

This is the opportunity for all you to have your say and perhaps we will save something for our children.

The first great requisite of motive power is; that it shall be wholly at our command, to be exerted when, and where, and in what degree we desire.The wind, for instance, as a direct motive power, is wholly inapplicable to a system of machine labour, for during a calm season the whole business of the country would be thrown out of gear.

William Stanley Jevons (1865)

“God never made an ugly landscape. All that sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.”

— John Muir

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”

— John Muir

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It’s fallen down, AGAIN!

19 Dec 2014

stoer

A PUBLICLY funded, £37,000 wind turbine sited next to a community hall in north-west Sutherland has crashed to the ground for a second time.

The tower of the 15-metre high turbine at remote Rhue Stoer Hall, north of Lochinver, snapped in two last Thursday, sending the gear box housing and blades tumbling to the ground. It is the second such structural failure in two years.

The turbine was reported to be “askew” and making a “funny noise” just prior to the crash.

For the full story of how The Highland Council ‘Carbon Clever’ team are putting school children at risk click here

The independent members of the Highland Council’s call for the Carbon ‘crazies’ Clever department to be axed in pursuit of the £54 million savings required of the Council was defeated this week although the sacking of twelve road men and the disposal of twelve gritting lorries was approved. Can we call on the Council Chief and his SNP buddies to shoulder their shovels and clear the roads on our next heavy snow fall? I can be certain that will never happen!

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High Court rejects RWE Innogy challenge to a Pickling

Pickles

Mr Justice Dove rejected a challenge brought by RWE Innogy Ltd, the energy company behind the proposal to erect the 126 metre high turbines at East Heslerton Wold, East Heslerton, Rydale, in which the energy firm hoped the judge would order Eric Pickles to reconsider the application.

Ruling that the decision should stand, the judge found that the communities secretary had adequately explained his decision and that it was not irrational.

He said: “I do not consider that there is any basis upon which it could be contended that the defendant’s decision in this case was irrational.

“The defendant has reached a different conclusion as to the appropriate weight attached to the impact on the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and he had ample material before him in order to reach that different conclusion.”

He added that the secretary of state had clearly set out the basis for his conclusion that the impact of the turbines on the nearby grade I listed St Andrew’s church in East Heslerton would be “greater than minor”.

He concluded: “The claimant’s case both in relation to the impact on the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and St Andrew’s Church is not made out, and this application must be dismissed.”

RWE is likely to face a legal costs bill from the government’s lawyers, but that issue will be dealt with later.

RWE Innogy had claimed that the secretary of state had unlawfully rejected its appeal against initial refusal by Ryedale District Council.

Pickles reached the conclusion that the total environmental effects of the scheme could not be made acceptable, but RWE claimed that he failed to take into account all the evidence, that he reached a “perverse” decision, and that he failed to give adequate reasons to explain it.

RWE Innogy UK Limited v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Case Number: CO/3118/2014

 

Mr Justice Dove rejected a challenge brought by RWE Innogy Ltd, the energy company behind the proposal to erect the 126 metre high turbines at East Heslerton Wold, East Heslerton, Rydale, in which the energy firm hoped the judge would order Eric Pickles to reconsider the application.
Ruling that the decision should stand, the judge found that the communities secretary had adequately explained his decision and that it was not irrational.

He said: “I do not consider that there is any basis upon which it could be contended that the defendant’s decision in this case was irrational.

“The defendant has reached a different conclusion as to the appropriate weight attached to the impact on the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and he had ample material before him in order to reach that different conclusion.”

He added that the secretary of state had clearly set out the basis for his conclusion that the impact of the turbines on the nearby grade I listed St Andrew’s church in East Heslerton would be “greater than minor”.

He concluded: “The claimant’s case both in relation to the impact on the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and St Andrew’s Church is not made out, and this application must be dismissed.”

RWE is likely to face a legal costs bill from the government’s lawyers, but that issue will be dealt with later.

RWE Innogy had claimed that the secretary of state had unlawfully rejected its appeal against initial refusal by Ryedale District Council.

Pickles reached the conclusion that the total environmental effects of the scheme could not be made acceptable, but RWE claimed that he failed to take into account all the evidence, that he reached a “perverse” decision, and that he failed to give adequate reasons to explain it.

RWE Innogy UK Limited v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Case Number: CO/3118/2014

 

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DECC publishes Energy Price impacts

The truth, the part truths and what they want us to hear

The truth, the part truths and what they want us to hear

The Renewable Energy Foundation identified a lack of clarity in the ‘2014 Energy Impacts of Energy and Climate Policies on Prices and Bills’ and used a Freedom of Information Act request to expose those shortcomings. Their report and assessment is HERE.

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Germany’s Renewables?

German Renewables

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Renewable Energy – A Fools Charter

biomass KorrieInverness – Carbon Neutral?
Bio-mass boilers keep breaking down in schools, costing pupils hundreds of hours of teaching time, councillors have been told. There were 361 EMERGENCY call outs to some 66 boilers in operation in schools, care homes, offices and leisure centres. The boilers are alleged to have saved the council £400,000 in fuel costs per year, although that ignores the capital costs of replacing often perfect serviceable systems on a political whim which runs into millions. Councillor Drew Hendry, who has announced his plans to stand in the General Elections, put the issues down to teething problems. A bit like his electric bikes that I have yet to see in use in Inverness. It has much to do with the SNP policy in the Highlands that we are under attack by so many wind farm applications and approvals such as Stronelairg which The Highland Council DID NOT object to.

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Nursery chimes

Dougal Quixote:

Many a true thing said in jest!

Originally posted on fenbeagleblog:

Nursery times 2   2

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Panic – The Ice is melting! Or is it?

We have had everyone from eminent scientists to world leaders telling us that Global Warming is proven by the melting ice caps. When I say eminent scientists I mean people like Sir Paul Nurse, who is a  geneticist and therefore knows every thing about ‘climate change’, and a whole phalanx of climate scientists(?) whatever they are. I believe oceanographers, paleoecologists, vulcanologists and meteorologists as experts in their fields but climatologists are groups of the great unwashed in my book. Those ‘scientists’ whose fields are diverse and have rarely got much to do with climate that ‘supported’ AGW in the beginning stated that science had come to a consensus. Consensus is a political word, not a scientific one. The moral to this is never believe those that make a good living from false science and live on the gravy train of climate change. Like all good scientists follow the data. So are the ice caps melting?

global.daily.ice.area.withtrend (1)

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Wind farm deliveries are prone to accidents

Deliveries on unsuitable roads are a bane of those living near windfarm construction sites. This facebook page reflects only one Hungarian company’s problems.

Memo to transport dept. Don’t employ Hungarian delivery drivers!

The story ends here at Barnmoor Wind Farm

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Are off-shore wind farms safe for our cetacean species?

A pod of 40 pilot whales were spotted in shallow waters near the offshore wind turbines off the Essex coast.

Observers said they appeared to be stressed and disorientated – one wale was found dead after the incident.

Insufficient research had been done on the effect of off-shore wind installations and their substructure on both of seabirds and under sea species.  Marine animals are known to be affected by the noise of piling in the construction phase and it is not unreasonable to suggest that vibration and noise will not have some adverse effects. Noise travels further and can be amplified in water.  What has not been adequately studied is the effect of EMF (Electro Magnetic Filed) waves from hi voltage cables buried just below the sea bed. Whales, Dolphin and Porpoises are known to navigate by electro magnetic methods.

Whales stranded in Essex

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National Trust for Scotland joins fight against Stronelairg windfarm

So Stronelairg isn’t dead and buried whatever SSE might hope!

Well, when someone like the National Trust for Scotland start complaining, even the Government should start listening. Click for the article

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Is one gravy train hitting the buffers?

Agricultural subsidies for farmers who allow solar panels to be built in their fields will be scrapped to stop the English countryside from being ‘blighted by solar farms’, the government has announced.


The Department for the Energy, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said yesterday’s announcement means that farmers will lose their right to claim subsidies for “fields filled with solar panels”.DEFRA said the plans would “ensure more agricultural land is dedicated to growing crops and food” and would “help rural communities who do not want their countryside blighted by solar farms”.

Ministers said they want to see farms dedicated to agriculture “to help boost our food and farming industry”.

When it comes into effect from next January, farmers who allow solar panels in their fields will no longer be eligible for any farm subsidy payments available through the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy for that land.

The move comes after the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), announced earlier this month that the Renewables Obligation subsidy for new large-scale solar farms with a capacity greater than 5MW will end next April.

Earlier this year, the Department for Communities and Local Government changed planning rules to prevent solar installations being installed in fields that could be used for reality solarfarming.

Environment secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “English farmland is some of the best in the world and I want to see it dedicated to growing quality food and crops.

“I do not want to see its productive potential wasted and its appearance blighted by solar farms.

“Farming is what our farms are for and it is what keeps our landscape beautiful.

“It makes my heart sink to see row upon row of solar panels where once there was a field of wheat or grassland for livestock to graze.”

Solar panels would be best placed on the 250,000 hectares of south-facing commercial rooftops, Truss added, “where they will not compromise the success of our agricultural industry”.

According to DEFRA, the subsidy change would save up to £2 million of public money each year that would no longer be available for these subsidies.

The department said there are now 250 solar farms in the English countryside, with the biggest covering as much as 100 hectares, while more than 7,600 hectares of agricultural land across the UK is currently or planned to be used for solar farms.

Needless to say the Solar Industry are not happy. Build your solar arrays on brown filed sites then!

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Were you a Boy Scout?

It depends on the sort of person you are. Did you dig up the garden to install a fall out bunker during the cold war, now probably an underground pond or the centre of your mushroom business or did you consider, post apocalypse, the last people you would want to share a scorched earth with would be exactly those paying out huge sums for such hole in the back yard. But the energy crisis is a little more guaranteed and less costly to prepare for. Essentially it is like the the Boy Scout analogy. “Be Prepared”. Apologies to any Girl Guides. An auxiliary generator is not rocket science and installation is neither expensive or difficult.

There are two simple avenues: manually switched transfer(MST) or Automatically Switched Transfer (AST, sometimes referred to as AMF[automatic mains failure]). There is ONE MAJOR CAVEAT though. This is playing with the mains supply to the house between the electricity meter and the consumer unit. Legally, and practically, this is beyond the DIY enthusiast and should be done by a qualified electrician. It should take little more than an hour and the certificate provided will be useful for the insurers in the event of a future conflagration.

gen backup

First you need to ascertain your minimum power requirement. The fridge, freezer, central heating, lights and possibly water pump if you are on a private supply. A minimum requirement for a house is probably about 3kw. The cost of a manual transfer switch and 

3.5kw manual start generator is around £800 incl vat but plus installation. Hardly going to break the bank. The generator will run for about 10 hours and can be refilled, due care

being taken. Hot generators and petrol need to be treated with caution. As in the diagram the generator should be sited outside and consider that generators are heavy so wheels (about £70 extra) may be appropriate depending on your circumstances. Also consider the noise if you are close to neighbours. As they shiver in the cold they may take exception to a noisy generator next door! If you have a generator already a manual switch is around £250 plus installation.

The alternative is an automatic switched system which requires an electric start generator with remote sensing input. The switch will recognise the power outage and send a signal to the generator which will start up and in a few seconds take over the load. When the power comes back it will simply switch back to the main supply and in about thirty seconds the generator will turn off. The cost of this luxury is about £1800 plus installation. There may be an added cost of an exhaust pipe for the generator if it is sited in an outbuilding or garage. The added advantage is that this model is 5.3kw so will cook the Christmas Turkey! This system also comes with AVR(automatic voltage regulation) which removes spikes in the power supply which could damage sensitive electronic equipment such as computers. However you can get surge protection extension cables for computers reasonably cheaply if you prefer the more economical option. Another alternative is to go for a larger 4.95kv Manual switch system with AVR for £1154 incl vat. Good automatic systems include a trickle charger for the generator battery which protects against the possibility of the embarrassment of a failure of the system. The neighbours will notice quicker than even you!!

A useful web site is http://generators.co.uk or http://mainsfailure.com. I have no contact with either site and many more are available through Google.

Go on, splash out and really upset your neighbours as they freeze in front of one candle on the coldest night of the year.

THIS IS NOT A DIY JOB. THIS DOES REQUIRE A QUALIFIED ELECTRICIAN!

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Wind Farm overload!

Apologies if the Blog has been on the dark side for a few days. We really have descended into overload. Just when the mitigation work on the ‘Beauly Buzz’ was moving to completion, undergrounding is underground and fields turning green and we were hoping for some peace, all hell broke loose again. Work on the SVC is yet to be completed so we don’t yet know if it will be successful. At the moment it is perfect peace with the equipment out of service whilst the new barriers are erected. SSE have now dropped a bombshell. The Beauly-Loch Buidhe(Shin) line is to be doubled in capacity with larger towersand two massive new substations at Bonar Bridge and Alness and the Beauly to Blackhillock line is to become another 400KV Beauly-Denny size line with massive towers. An MSCDN is to be built within the Wester Balblair substation to balance the SVC, which is there to balance the wind energy, and also more new equipment, Quadrature Boosters are to be installed. Needless to say the paths that were to improve safety on the approach roads have still not been constructed and are now promised for a start in January, a great time of the year for groundworks! Beauly-Western Isles has again raised it’s ugly head and the remaining Beauly-Deaney line is to be re-engineered. This is all to support resilience in the structure to support the wind farms. We were told if the subsidy died, this would all die with it. Just when the possibility of peace descending on this beautiful area, it is to be rent again with uncontrolled development. The MSCDN (Mechanically Switched Capacitor with Damping Network) is to be installed under permitted development. So no chance for the planners to put any controls on it!

MSCDN1

To hammer a nail in the coffin, Force 9 Energy have now announced plans for a seventeen turbine wind farm for EDF not six miles away, the Scottish Reporter overturned the refusal for a met mast at Kilmorack-Erchless(so much for democracy) and the decision on Bein Mhor has again been deferred as the applicants have failed to provide answers to questions. When will this ever stop?  

The joke in all this is that we are also faced with the Community Empowerment Bill at a time when Communities feel less empowered than at any time in the past. For local people and community councils, who are not remunerated, this really does feel like a bad joke! After all we are up against highly paid and resourced companies who are determined to destroy all we hold dear! The hours that have to be given over to these issues are immense and when all said and done, the day job still has to be done to put bread on the table!

As one local put it succinctly, “I’ll be DEAD before this lot is completed”. We know that the time scale goes beyond 2024!!!

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One wheel on our Wagon

Dougal Quixote:

Many a true thing said in jest!!!

Originally posted on fenbeagleblog:

Gone West

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Should Communities be subjected to HELL with no redress?

SHOWT

We hear that after three years Streetwood Wind Farm in South Norfolk has finally been refused. See the details here. What has not been addressed is the cost and stress to the Community and how that should be recompensed. We hear regularly of the Community Benefit (BRIBES) that developers promise but nothing to compensate the planning blight, cost and stress of THREE YEARS fighting these wind farms. The fact it has eventually been kicked into touch suggests that it was not an appropriate development and not in an appropriate area. When are developers going to be made to pay? 

Can we suggest that all developers must place a pre application bond of £50k per turbine which in the case of approval can be directed to final decommissioning and in the case of a refusal should be paid to the Community to cover costs and stress caused. I think against the expected profits it is but a drop in the ocean but for those effected by applications, especially repeat applications for the same or similar site, it would make life more amenable. I think it would has guard against speculative applications.

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The Fight to Save Stronelairg and the Monadliaths

Whilst we disassociate ourselves from Stuart Brooks comments which follow a line much disproved now. It is an old policy of JMT and has not been updated with current understanding. However JMT covers a broad church, many of whom are urban dwellers, and it is a fact that such organisations have to tread a thin line between political correctness and reality.

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Group are awarded costs over wind farm withdrawal

Killingtom

“THE Dales Gateway Group, which opposed the construction of three 132-metre high turbines at Killington Lake, has been awarded costs of £9,542 after developers Bank Renewables “suddenly and unexpectedly” withdrew its planning application before a public inquiry was to be held on September 23.

The group made a claim to The Planning Inspectorate for what it considered unreasonable behaviour. The Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government informed the group on Friday that the award of costs had been approved.”

Interesting precedent which could lead to more claims against developers.

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Turbines in Schools

Well we have discussed this previously but I doubt that the councillors will learn from the mistakes. Turbines in schools are not safe!

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Terry the Turbine – a Kentish Ballad

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CO² is NOT a posion

carbon dioxideThe Myth of Carbon Pollution

On October 15, 2014, Dr. William Happer, Chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute, will discuss “The Myth of Carbon Pollution.”

“Carbon pollution” is a propaganda slogan for the campaign against carbon dioxide (CO2). It is not science. Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant but is essential for plant growth. Current CO2 levels are far below optimum for most plants, and far below norms of
geological history, when CO2 concentrations averaged several times higher than present values. A substantial fraction, about 15%, of current world food production is due to the higher levels of CO2 compared to preindustrial values. Contrary to unambiguous computer
predictions, there has been no statistically significant surface warming in at least 15 years. It is now clear that the warming potential of CO2 has been exaggerated by a large amount, and it is unlikely to be much more than 1oC for doubling of CO2. There is not the slightest evidence that more CO2 has caused more extreme weather or accelerated sea level rise. Nor is there the slightest support for the notion that government control of CO2 will “stop climate change.” Many real environmental issues need attention, smog, waste disposal, short-sighted suburban development, adequate clean water, public health, etc. These are being overshadowed by the phony issue of “carbon pollution.”

Dr. William Happer is Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics (emeritus) at Princeton University, a long-term member of the JASON advisory group, and former director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. In addition to being a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Alfred P. Sloan fellowship, the Alexander von Humboldt award, the Herbert P. Broida Prize and the Thomas Alva Edison patent award.

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