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

Posted in Tourism, Uncategorized | 36 Comments

Missing – An Energy Policy for Scotland

murdoMurdo Fraser, Convenor of the Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Committee and a rather isolation voice of reason on that Committee has written a piece about Scotland’s energy future. Please read as it is a breath of fresh air in the corridors of Holyrood. Click on the link.

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Three Decades of Wind Industry Deception: A Chronology of a Global Conspiracy of Silence and Subterfuge

Dougal Quixote:

Detail is mirrored in every country in the world infested with the wind scam.

Originally posted on STOP THESE THINGS:

lies

A little while back, a Scottish pen-smith posed a little rhetorical on the subtle art of skulduggery:

Oh, what a tangled web we weave

When first we practise to deceive!

There have been few industries that have had more practice, and as much success, in that subtle art, as the wind industry.

STT has popped up 880 posts in the, just over, two years since we cranked into gear – on our mission to destroy the wind industry.

A fair slice of them have concerned the topic of the adverse health effects caused by turbine generated incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound; the woefully inadequate, indeed, utterly irrelevant noise standards written by the wind industry; and the institutional corruption that:

a) allowed those standards to become the “benchmarks” in the first place; and

b) witnesses public authorities, with a responsibility to protect public health, not only sitting on their hands, but…

View original 2,204 more words

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Compensation isn’t enough!

A message to the

scottish_conservatives-logo

Ruth Davidson and Murdo Fraser addressed the inequalities of wind farms at the Stirling Mart recently. However this only partly addresses the issues and aims to bring us in line with Denmark who amended their compensation scheme in September 2014. In that people who are financially disadvantaged by the construction of wind turbines/farms can apply to the government for compensation which is calculated by an independent adjudication panel. The government then claim that money back from the developer. As the Scottish Conservatives state the SNP Parliament is totally besotted by their land reforms which could be seen as another target in the independence ambitions and surely runs contrary to it’s wind farm targets.

The truth is, and although Murdo Fraser understands it I am not sure Ruth Davidson does, that the impact of wind farms has little to do with property values but with quality of life. A cheque for the estimated loss in value (c. 20%) is little benefit if your views are trashed and you can’t sleep for the incessant noise during the limited times that the turbines are actually working and you can’t enjoy a summers day in the garden due to the persistent shadow flicker. Nor does it take account of those that have had their homes on the market for years with no viewings and no offers. That often happens from the day the wind farm goes into scoping and can last a minimum of three years even in the case of refused applications. For an approved application this can extend to the twenty five years life of a wind farms, not taking into account weasel words from Planners suggesting extensions to forty years will be normal. Of course we may suggest that wind farms have an expected life span closer to sixteen years but we are already seeing windfarms in Devon being re-engineered with new bigger turbines on the original footprint.

In a world where work often means you have to move half way across the country if not the continent, this can cause real stress to those involved.

So we have a government that can’t care a damn, sees land reform as a great move forward (think Mugabe and Zimbabwe) and a system that is morally corrupt. That a great number of opponents to wind farms are seen as incomers encourages the SNP to snipe and vilify opposition. However look deeper and consider that without inward migration these areas would be a disaster area with real grinding poverty not seen since the Clearances. Inward migration brings investment, jobs and even tourism. Had not those resident in the Glens sold their properties and moved from the area, inward migration would never have reached the levels it did. The necessary investment in these deprived areas would have been in the hundreds of millions whereas the investment has been in growth and infrastructure. A win-win situation for the country. Now we have the opposite with investment from off-shore companies buying turbines built all over europe and profits directed everywhere but Scotland. Just a trawl through the myriad of small operating companies will show that most make losses so no tax revenue for the UK whilst operational/financial charges go to offshore tax havens. Even the absentee landowners would make the latest HSBC tax avoidance schemes small beer.

So, yes, Scottish and rUK residents should be entitled to compensation and in fact for buy-out when the property won’t sell. If the wind farm company are so sure that properties won’t drop in value then surely, with their sqillions of profits, they would find no conflict to buy such properties at the accepted valuation and sell them on without loss. Of course we know that they know that these properties would be un-marketable. That is why they have proved so resistant to such suggestions.

However in discussing compensation we must not lose track of the fact that most people have invested a great deal both financially and emotionally in their properties and the only answer is to stop building on shore wind farms, move to new technologies including fracked gas, clean coal and nuclear on existing sites and stop trashing our beautiful scenery(accepted as the greatest reason for tourism in Scotland). In fact I would go so far as to call for a total moratorium on applications, to rescind any approved wind farms and to consider decommissioning and removal of all wind farms/turbines that were originally refused by local councils and subsequently approved by Ministers. I would also make mandatory a minimum distance, as agreed by a forum including residents/homeowners and representatives of walking/climbing groups etc, from wind turbines. In other words not just SNP appointed government officers, WWF, RSPB and Scottish Renewables, as has been the case up until now! Any on-farm/domestic/council turbines already built within those minimums would have to be decommissioned and removed or sited outwith the proscribed minimums. Compensation is nothing more or less than a bribe.

Any alternative is truthfully no alternative at all!

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The Bloom Box – Is this the Energy of the Future?

The Bloom Box has been around for a few years and has been trialled by some of the greatest names in the IT world to power their offices and factories. So why are we still waiting?

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This will mean a lot to all those involved with Wester Balblair

Click here for the link

 

 

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The difficulty in ending the Scam

fool

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Will Fracking benefit the UK citizens?

Private FraserIn a recent article on these posts it was commented that US gas prices will rise as exports start. We know Ineos at Grangemouth is building a massive gas storage facility for US Fracked Gas. Now the caveat. We know what prunes out government ministers are and the not fit for purpose DECC. If we support Fracking in the UK can we guarantee they only take as much as we need protecting our resources for generations or will the mantra of free trade result in the rape of the UK and selling our birthright to the rest of europe. Just like they did with oil! Big profits for big overseas developers and a few well paid seats on boards for retiring ministers. Any bets folks!

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Countryfile Comment

A make no apology form posting this comment that someone left on the Countryfile fb Page about their program on wind farms. It really says a great deal. Hope that urbanites that read this comment take notice.

countryfile image

  • It is good to see that maybe, just maybe, someone at the BBC has woken up and realised the depth of feeling about the wind turbine scam. Thousands of people have their lives blighted by the things, the environment is being trashed and a very few, mainly very unscrupulous, people are making fortunes on the back of an ultimately pointless waste of money.

    If the BBC actually want to do some real journalism instead of just following the official green party line dictated by RenewablesUK, why don’t they investigate the scandal of ETSU-R-97? Why is it all other industrial activities which are in contact with the general public are judged by the standard BS4142:1997, but the wind industry were allowed to develop their own, fundamentally flawed and ineffective standard, resulting in misery for unfortunate people suffering from sleep deprivation and loss of amenity?

    Why don’t the BBC investigate the derating scandal where operators are building bigger turbines than necessary but derating their official capacity to obtain higher subsidies? Why don’t the BBC investigate the Whitelee drinking water issue where people have been poisoned by carcinogens as a result of windfarm construction? Why don’t the BBC investigate the corruption of local authority planners and councillors being heavily “influenced” by the cash rich wind turbine developers?

    Why not actually validate the claims from the industry about carbon savings and being a clean environmentally friendly solution? Where is the evidence that net CO2 emissions have been reduced as a result of wind turbines, taking into account hot spinning reserve generators running in parallel, concrete production, road-works, shipping of these huge industrial white elephants around the world etc.? Why not investigate the pollution caused by the wind turbine industry as a result of neodymium mining in China? Why not investigate the impact on tourism? Why not look at the cost to industry of inflated electricity prices caused by subsidies, how many real jobs have been exported as a result of the Climate Change Act?
    How about validating the fairyland claims made by developers saying that “this windfarm will provide electricity for xxxx thousand homes”? The Countyfile story touched on the issue of intermittency and the impact on the national grid, but from a very slanted viewpoint. No real mention about the cost to the general public of developing infrastructure (read massive pylons ) enabling windfarms to be located hundreds of miles away from where the power is consumed.
    There are countless things that a truly impartial and responsible national news agency should have been looking at. There are enough issues to be investigated, impartially and enthusiastically, to provide a whole year’s worth of Panarama or Countryfile programmes

 

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Questions and Answers about Fracking

lets_talk_logo_header

This is an interesting source of information

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Nuclear v. Wind

Nuclear v wind

Scotland is presently heavily reliant on Nuclear and yet the SNP have vowed to turn their backs on it to comply with a grass roots CND caucus within their membership. Go to any SNP conference and see the amount of members sporting CND badges. Now I thought CND stands for Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. I don’t think it is the CNE(Campaign against Nuclear Energy) Modern Nuclear power station are a long way from the old Magnox power station whose original aim was to produce fissionable material for nuclear weapons with energy as a by-product. Modern Nuclear, and in that I am considering liquid salt and thorium, do not per se produce nuclear weapons grade plutonium. We really need to have a grown up discussion about nuclear energy in Scotland and for that we have to ditch the CND rhetoric and look closely at emerging technologies, the capacity and the employment that goes with them. Otherwise we will end up in a backwater of world productivity faced with horrendous energy costs and a declining population as people follow the jobs. We have been there before post the Clearances and anyone who doesn’t understand should read Jim Hunters book “The Making of a Crofting Community”. Clearances were first driven by North Country sheep farmers (the landowners reputation was created by the need for land for wool production and the financial opportunities that rode it’s back*) forcing the people off the land into a coastal existence from which emerged the kelping industry(soda production). As that dropped away due to cheaper imports from France, economic migration drew people first to Glasgow and then to the Americas and the antipodes. We ignore Nuclear as an energy source at our peril.

*I make no apology for the behaviour of many Lords, Ladies and landowners whose greed mirrors that of the landowners of the 21st century where wind has replaced sheep. Had today’s landowners the feudal power still I have no doubt that we would see a similar forced clearance.

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The Religion of Wind – a video from Germany

http://en.friends-against-wind.org/satires/die-religion-des-winds

And this from a country where following their leaders has got them in an awful lot of bother in the past!

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Make developers pay Compensation to affected residents

area of outstanding beauty

The Borders Wind Farm Protest Group LPG (Lauderdale Preservation Group) has raised a contentious but applicable issue that, as in Denmark, residents who lose value in both the property and amenity should be paid appropriate compensation. This article is well worth the read.

http://savelauderdale.org.uk/

 

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Why do the politicians listen to Greenpeace, WWF and FoE but not to engineers?

We recalled the name D B Watson. He has written several excellent letters and, as this letter reproduced below states, he is a chartered engineer with experience in the energy industry. As we’ve said many times before, all the engineers state the same thing in the same way; there is little if any variation. So why are the politicians not listening? As Helen McDade asked at a meeting a couple of years ago – why is there no engineering-based study? – GL
Renewables cannot supply the energy that is provided by gas
Tuesday 26 February 2013
I NOTE with interest Iain Macwhirter’s article on energy (“The rise and rise of the energy production racket”, The Herald, February 21).
As a chartered electrical engineer with around 35 years’ experience in the energy industry I feel compelled to take issue with the emergence of a new energy unit called, apparently, the “home”.
I refer to the often-heard statistic that a new wind farm or renewable energy device will power or provide enough energy for many hundreds or thousands of homes.
The data, promulgated by power companies and repeated by bodies such as the Scottish Parliament, local councils, equipment manufacturers, and countless quangos without challenge are, at best, misleading and, conveniently, support the impression that the energy being generated from renewables is considerably more than the reality.
Most power-generating companies adopt the RenewableUK assessment of average household usage of 4266 kilowatt hours per year when calculating the average number of homes that can be supplied from the output of a new renewables project.
This annual total is equivalent to less than 12 kilowatt hours per day per average home – that is, a one-bar 1kW electric fire operating for less than 12 hours each day, so includes next to nothing for electrical heating.
However, half of the energy consumed in Scotland is in the form of heat, with approximately half of that being consumed in our homes. Ofgem’s detailed statistical 2011 assessment for the (median) dual fuel needs of an average UK home is 4000 kilowatt hours per year of electricity plus 16,900 kilowatt hours of gas for heating/cooking . It also calculated typical high usage figures of 5100 kilowatt hours of electricity and 23,000 kilowatt hours of gas depending on the size and location of your home and the calorific value of your supplied gas (the equivalent amount of energy you get from burning the gas).
Scotland is of course at the high end of these figures given our cooler climate.
Domestic gas energy consumption for the typical home is therefore in addition to and between four and six times higher than the household electrical energy usage and much cheaper, at a cost of around one third per kilowatt hour of electricity at standard tariffs.
So the actual total average energy requirements for a UK home is approximately 20000 kilowatt hours per year whether you are all-electric or have both gas and electricity and not 4266 kilowatt hours. So wind farms provide around one-fifth of the actual energy requirements of the number of homes they claim to provide for.
The fallacy of the home claim is further apparent when you consider that in Scotland around one-third of domestic properties are not connected to the national gas network, compared to only one in 10 in the rest of the UK and this means there are more than 800,000 homes in Scotland that have to use electricity (the vast majority) and/or solid fuel or bottled gas for heating and cooking. Ironically, this includes all the island communities and much of the Highlands, where several of the wind farms are located.
It is of little surprise therefore that more than 120,000 Scottish families are officially in fuel poverty.
Almost every major wind farm generates into the nationwide electrical network and is distributed throughout the country, so the power companies’ claims that 4266kW hours per year provides enough electricity for a certain number of homes does not apply to at least 800,000 homes in Scotland.
Similarly, all claims that 4266kW hours powers a home are wrong as they do not include the heat energy we require and this applies equally to the rest of the UK.
This is important because the renewable industry also claims it is the future with gas supplies due to run out, by which argument it will then have to supply all the energy presently provided by gas. Then its current misleading claims will be shown to be wrong.
The renewables industry’s marketing people can’t have it both ways.
All in the industry and the politicians and the quangos need to start playing it straight with the public.
D B Watson,
********,
***********,
Cumbernauld

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A Great Diagram to Help People Understand How a Turbine Can Impact Its Neighbours

Dougal Quixote:

An interesting debate that considers future property values rather than just current as we consider now. I still think that thing missing is the inability of farmers b,c,d and f to sell their properties for a realistic value if at all.

Originally posted on Quixotes Last Stand:

This is a useful tool to use to show people how much one turbine can impact the property values of homes around it.   Now imagine if any of Farmers B through E have a second neighbour with a turbine.  They are completely prevented from ever doing anything on their own property again.  But turbines don’t affect property values…..right.

Thanks to Concerned Citizens of Delta County for this photo.  Origin unknown.

10155650_1546437988970242_8706028000469054610_n

View original

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I was asked about current public opinion on wind farms.

They use the word Nimby and yet the origin for that is not people effected by developments in their back yards but for politicians in Westminster who fought against developments in their constituencies which mights adversely effect their political ambitions. Public awareness is tempered by personal experience. Therefore those who live in the urban environment, which is by nature noisy, do not understand those rural dwellers who tilt against wind farms. Very few people understand the intermittency or financial ramifications of wind and if they did so may well question it’s efficacy of a viable energy source. If you had a cow that only provided milk from one teat you would get rid of it. Too costly to keep. If you have a wind turbine which only works 21% of output capacity, why pay millions to keep those that own it in caviar and champagne. It doesn’t make economic sense! And take into account that output capacity is far below rated capacity. As to the impact on those ‘hosting’ wind farms, the real measure is in truth quality of life! If you commit the largest life time expenditure to a quiet rural lifestyle with fantastic views, a wind farm with the attached noise and shadow flicker, added to the impact on your property value virtually imprisoning you in your property, very much adversely impacts on your quality of life. A community divided in some cases. Sleep deprivation, stress and in some cases hopelessness are all ‘conditions’ reported time and time again. The infrastructure of towers(pylons) and substations with their incumbent noise extends this to a greater number of homes and families. Public opinions have possibly polarised depending on which side of the fence. What has impacted on those opposing wind is the cumulative effect of more and more applications in an area. Once one is approved a phalanx of applications follows in it’s wake and people get tired of repeating the blindingly obvious. Total trust in the Government and the planning system is destroyed and with it another nail in our quality of life. Public opinion is divided by experience. But we are really rather tired of repeating the blindingly obvious!

If you want to register your opinion

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When Wild Winds fail to justify the hype!

An analysis of WWF claims on wind power in Scotland has recently been published and does only confirm that these charitable bodies have an agenda which has little to do with the truth or the good of the World’d wildlife. Read the full details HERE Well done Stuart and George. I just hope more people get to read this but then don’t expect anything useful from those at Holyrood.

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Eco vandalism

From The Kirkintilloch Herald!

And now comes along the Council “Environmentalist”

Walkers are up in arms over what they describe as “a chainsaw massacre” of a wood at Lenzie Moss by East Dunbartonshire Council.

They claim there has been no consultation with local people over the clearance of “a huge number of trees” in the popular nature reserve.

Andy Dickson of Lenzie said: “I was part of the residents action group 27 years ago who fought to retain the Moss from developers and 
we successfully secured protection for it.

“How can someone have so much power to completely destroy a significant area of natural beauty without 
consultation with residents?

“Right now the vast 
majority of trees are being 
destroyed by a gang of men with chainsaws.”

He told the Herald he is not satisfied with the response from the council that “the purpose of the work is to re-wet the peat bog and protect it from colonisation by birch.”

He said: “I want to know what action the council will take before we are left with a complete barren windswept wilderness no doubt ripe for developers.”

Another walker Michael Haseler added: “There is now almost nowhere for the deer to hide on the moss during the day. One was killed by a dog a few years ago.

“So many people complained to me about the tree-clearing, I went to look.

“It turns out there’s been a ‘Lenzie Moss chainsaw massacre,’ Vandalism of woodland at least 165 years old – although the individual trees are clearly younger – but it seems contrary to Lenzie Moss Management Plan.”

But Grace Irvine, Director of Neighbourhood Services for East Dunbartonshire Council said the work taking place at Lenzie Moss had the support of Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission.

She said: “The SNH is funding this work through its Green Stimulus grant and the Forestry Commission has granted a felling license.

“While there is no legal requirement for the council to consult on how it maintains its land, we have shown good practice by working with the Friends of Lenzie Moss, who I understand have given their support, and have also worked with the Countryside Rangers for a number of years on the management of the site.

She added the council had only received one complaint and work could not be halted as it could result in the council losing out on SNH grant funding.

A spokesperson for conservation group Friends of Lenzie Moss said: “We understand and appreciate local concerns over the recent round of scrub clearing on Lenzie Moss. Whilst the recently cleared areas of scrub have meant the loss of some vegetation, it will have benefits. In the long-term, it will enable the Moss to recover its original wet state.

“This will encourage growth in the population of associated plant species and create a more protected area for wildlife to thrive, including the rare green hairstreak butterfly.

“The scrub clearing is part of the management of the Moss as a local nature reserve. Further information, together with a copy of the plans showing the clearance areas can be seen on our website http://www.friendsoflenziemoss.org.uk

“We welcome interest in Lenzie Moss and are happy to work with anyone with concerns or comments about the ongoing programme to conserve this valuable community asset.”

So ‘The Point?’ I hear you say. The point is that nature actually manages itself far better than our experts. From what I hear natural predation by deer kept the trees away from the moss until they built a boardwalk which scared off the deer, so the young birch saplings weren’t predated. Result: an expert environmentallist calls in a gang of chainsaw wielders, lost of reports are written and grants secured, meetings called and a beautiful habitat, some of which was 165 years old, is destroyed.

Now think what happens with wind farms and the impact to peatlands, forests and archeology, aided and abetted by a tribe of ecologist and enviromentallist consultants. “a canker in our midst”

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Wind Farm debris highlights need for caution!

I don’t normally carry adverts but in this case I will make an exception. Alastair Collin of Turrin Connel published an advertorial in the Energy North news sheet. I would suggest that it be shown to every land owner, existing and prospective with the caveat that it is up to the landowner to protect their own interests. Some of these suggestions rely on long term continuation of insurances and bonds possibly over several different companies as developers sell on their investments. It is a point of legal nicety that should a company go into liquidation the liquidator may well ‘liquidate’ the bond to pay the creditors. Where does the landowner stand in that situation?

Press coverage recently of a Borders wind farm being shut down after a section of turbine blade was found on a road approximately half a mile away from any turbine location has highlighted the importance of landlords understanding and, if necessary, improving on any contractual protections with a view to minimising potential liabilities. The incident follows hard on the heals of reports of a large scale turbine collapse at a site in County Tyrone. According to reports debris was scattered several hundred metres from its source.

fintonaIt is important that landlords insist upon developers relieving landlords of liability in respect of claims arising from such incidents, whether these claims arise from the landlords themselves or from third parties. It is also critical that developers back up such indemnities with suitable insurance policies at sensible levels which reflect the extent of potential liabilities and practice in the industry.

The photos that were published of the site in County Tyrone gave an indication of the potential damage which can be caused to a property. It is vital to consider what provision has been made in safeguarding property should a lease come to an end either naturally or following  a breach by, or insolvency of, the developer. The best policy is to insist on a robust restoration provision with the developer being bound to put in place a bond or other form of financial guarantee or fund(“restoration provision”) in terms which are agreed by the landowner(whether the restoration provision is a joint provision in favour of the planning authority and the landowner or not).

Some of the key questions are:

  1. Has the restoration provision been set at a level that truly reflects the potential cost of restoration and with a provision for regular review to ensure suitable protection is offered for the life of the wind farm.
  2. Is the landowner a party to the restoration provision and what restrictions apply on the landowner’s liability to make a claim?
  3. Is the period of restoration provision sufficiently lengthy?
  4. Who determines when the restoration provision can be discharged – planning authority, landowner or (ideally) both|?

Many developers will argue that landlords need not concern themselves with restoration on the basis that the planning authority has statutory duties to ensure it is dealt with. However the dangers of such an approach are all too apparent from a reading of the January 2014 independent review of opencast coal operations in East Ayreshire. The review identified major and persistent failings at a number of levels in the way that restoration plans (and restoration bonds and restoration) were scrutinised, monitored and enforced. It is critical for any landowner, or their advisers, not to place reliance on restoration provisions negotiated by third parties.

We would urge any landlord with wind turbines on land being let to third parties to ensure that restoration is not ignored and that opportunities for review of bonding levels are fully utilised.

END

Whilst this covers many areas we might add liability for forest fires which existing insurance may not cover in the case of a turbine fire and liability for water contamination(Whitelees) and possibly for noise nuisance in the future. Many cases are presently in the US courts and what starts there often arrives in the UK shortly after. How soon before the no win/no fee vultures see pickings to be made. The renewable industry has promoted the view that scrap value of the turbines will cover restoration costs. Who know in twenty years if steel will have a value as products such as carbon fibre take over.

Certainly it is a case of caveat emptor when you buy into the Great Wind Scam and those who will pick up the tab without doubt will be the landowners, as the klondikers disappear in the sun to their retirement houses in tax havens far away from our shores or the reach of our laws.

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Which ‘Environment’ do ‘Environmentalists’ really care about?

windfarm in Pennines

Another erudite argument from Christopher Booker in the Telegraph. What amazes me is that so few see the reality. I wonder how many of these ‘environmentalists’ jet off around the world on their multiple holidays. How many have 50in plus LED TVs and how many have ipads, iphones and every ‘necessity’ to modern living. In fact how many are urban sparrows rather than rural ‘low carbon footprint’ dwellers. What I am aware is that few are realists! But then it is easy to pontificate from a warm centrally heated city dwelling with a safe public sector job paying for all the luxury of being an ‘environmentalist’ . It is a true fact that only wealthy countries can afford to be ecologically and environmentally interested in the environment. The rest of the world has to survive or starve!

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Bogged Down in Ancient History

We see little more than anecdotal evidence of the impact of windfarms on the tourist industry so I make no apology for selectively quoting from am article in the Inverness Courier by Alan Hendry in their Active Outdoors section.

Camster Long Cairn - 5000 years of Highland history

Camster Long Cairn – 5000 years of Highland history

I was aware the route would be boggy in places – it was winter after all- but this was bordering on the inaccessible.

I’d cycled down the coast from Wick and turned off the A99 onto the minor road leading to the Hill o’ Many Stanes. From here the road gives way to a rough track Camster cycle trail—–emerging just south of the Camster Cairns.

I came to a gate where signs were posted explaining that tree felling and forest track upgrading works relating to the Burn of Whilk Wind Farm were taking place. 

If this is a core path. I thought to myself as I surveyed the morass of rutted tyre tracks and pools of mud stretching into the middle distance, I’d like to see what a non core path looks like.

I soon found myself in a churned up landscape of forestry operations and wind farm excavations. Instead of a single track there was a confusing network of access tracks. It would have made a convincing set for a war movie, shredded woodland, trenches slicing through the dark earth (peat?), heavy machinery left unattended here and there and big craters filled with watery brown gunge.

Of course you can’t come here – another Historic Scotland site – without venturing into at least one of the two 5000 year old cairns, Camster Round and Camster Long…. for thousands of years these twin monuments were the dominant man made features for many miles around. Not any more . Just up the road the Camster Wind Farm towers over the moorland and indeed some of the turbine blades can be seen from the boardwalk between the Cairns.

It may not be the most sensitively sited renewable energy scheme.  (An under statement if ever I heard one)

Well I can only hope that Alan’s name sake Drew Hendry, leader of The Highland Council and candidate for the Westminster elections,  reads this and realises how arrogant and destructive this policy of his is to carpet the Highlands with it’s history and fantastic scenery, to degrade the carbon soaks of peat beds and to compromise our historical attractions for an intermittent expensive, carbon creating phallic symbol of SNP ambition and perhaps, when Fergus Ewing travels this way, he may think about the destruction wrought in a vanity project for a former first minister.

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