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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A Tourists Impression of the Highlands

guide to the highlands

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Allt Duine – The Refusal

allt-Duine2

Allt Duine wind farm

30/07/2015 10:30

Refusal due to unacceptable impact on the Cairngorms National Park and wild land.

Ministers have refused consent for the proposed 31-turbine wind farm at Allt Duine near Kincraig.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney concluded the plan does not represent sustainable development as it would result in significant and unacceptable landscape and visual impacts on the Cairngorms National Park, an area of national importance for its natural and cultural heritage, and on wild land.

The decision follows a public local inquiry and Scottish Government consultations on the potential impacts of the wind farm on the Cairngorms National Park and on the implications of the development on new planning policies.

Mr Swinney said:

“The Scottish Government’s policy on wind farms strikes a careful balance between maximising Scotland’s huge green energy potential and protecting some of our most scenic landscape and wild areas. We have been clear that wind farms can only be built in the right places and Scottish Planning Policy sets out rigorous steps to ensure wind farms are sited appropriately and sensitively.

“I have considered the Allt Duine application fully and have refused permission as the proposal would have a significant and unacceptable landscape and visual impacts in the local area, including on the Cairngorms National Park and on a wild land area.

“The Scottish Government remains fully committed to renewables and to achieving our target of 100 per cent of our electricity demand coming from renewables by 2020.”

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Individual Turbines Breed too!

Great Heck, Heck No We Won’t Blow.

we are just a local group.

Comment
Hi,

I’ve made a petition – will you sign it?

Click this link to sign the petition:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104702/sponsors/91J0QGeReURkw76PQlFd

My petition:

Stop stand alone wind turbines taking over our countryside, and review the FIT

Stand alone wind turbines are getting taller (75 – 125 metres tall ) being built close to small picturesque villages. They are far too tall, harm the local wildlife, over bearing and make people feel uneasy (akin to a bully standing over your shoulder). The Feed In Tariff is far too generous.

There is a wind turbine in the hands of local planning at the moment and this one is going to be built in the middle of a lovely landscape. None of the electricity produced will be used by the person/s as they live miles and miles away instead they will just be getting lots of money from the FIT estimated roughly at £220000 per year all paid for by tax payers

Click this link to sign the petition:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104702/sponsors/91J0QGeReURkw76PQlFd

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Has reality dawned?

collapse of wind

Planning bids for renewable energy projects drop 80%

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Thorium – The future of Nuclear generation

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Water contamination at Wind farm sites

Can of worms

Request for Action

Click above to download a PDF for an understanding of the issue of water contamination by wind farms 

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Levy Exemption Certificates

The Levy Exemption Certificate

The Climate bonus that we all missed. Until the Chancellor cancelled it we never realised that it added so much to the value of wind farms. We all know about ROCs but LECs were a closed book. Needless to say the wind weasels were counting them all up and it is a frightening sum. A subsidy on a subsidy. To give you an insight you might be interested in these figures on Farr windfarm. Infinis quoted LECs as 6% of their turnover.

Final ROC payment for April is not yet available. That cannot disguise the fact that Farr windfarm alone received £1.083 million in extra subsidy!

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Beinn Mhor refused on appeal

The Glen Affric area has received a reprieve after the WPD’s Beinn Mhor Wind Farm was refused on appeal. The developers and landowner have proved very aggressive on this application dividing the community in a totally unacceptable way. When the application ran out of time, due to inclement weather preventing two site visits, the applicants went direct to appeal. Today we heard that it was refused and on some very interesting points. Basically transport infrastructure and visual impact especially in regard to wild land.

glen-affric

“I agree that the proposal would have a serious adverse affect on the enjoyment of the wild land character of this area, again due to the close proximity of the new wind farm.”

Full details here

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Renewables Must Now Pay Climate Change Levy

Dougal Quixote:

Well, this was a ‘subsidy’ that they kept very quiet about.

Originally posted on NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT:

By Paul Homewood

image

http://www.clickgreen.org.uk/news/national-news/126251-renewable-energy-sector-reacts-with-fury-budget-plans-to-axe-levy-support.html

It seems the greenies are all up in arms that the Chancellor has removed the exemption from the Climate Change Levy for renewable energy providers.

The levy was originally introduced in 2001 as a charge to businesses on their electricity bills, intended to incentivise them to save energy, rather than encourage renewable provision.

Unsurprisingly, the subsidy sharks in the renewable sector are furious that they won’t be able to make quite as much money:

The UK’s renewable energy sector has attacked Government plans to change the rules governing the Climate Change Levy – a measure which was originally designed to promote the generation of clean energy.
RenewableUK, the trade association representing the wind, wave and tidal energy industries, strongly criticised the Chancellor’s announcement in his budget speech that he is retrospectively removing the exemption for green energy.
RenewableUK’s Director of Policy, Dr Gordon Edge, said: “The…

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Shale has had a bit of a setback but you have to ask why?

tvs

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Was June as great on wind as the industry pontificated?

ponton on wind

An excellent resume!

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Samsung pull out of Dundee

keep away

Many may know the story of Samsung’s Mega Turbine at Methil. At 200ft and rated at a Capacity of 7MW it was supposedly a test rig for offshore deployment. Why go to the other end of the world for a turbine when most are European built defies logic but not the Scottish Government that wasted up to £11 million in attracting Samsung Heavy Industries. Now Samsung has the towel and not before time and the turbine is up for sale. Problems started from day one with locals complaining of the noise although interestingly the Courier states that they are not aware of any complaints. That same newspaper not long ago wrote an article about the noise issue and the fact that the turbine had to be turned off if the wind was in a certain direction.

“Erecting an almost 200m high turbine within a few hundred metres of peoples’ homes was always going to mean trouble. Engineers have also wondered how such a location can replicate conditions 10 km out in the North Sea for the purposes of testing. ”

Well so did we!

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Area 34 – Under threat

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The Report they didn’t want publishing!

header-logoFrom the start of this research things haven’t gone smoothly. The Industry and the Scottish Government seemed intent to have limited  representation of those impacted by wind farms. Only very forceful exchanges enabled such representation. What actually came  through though was an acceptable balance of local government, planning, opposition groups and industry representatives.  Concerns may well have centred on the name and type of work ClimateXChange takes on. However the report that they have presented identifies exactly the concerns that we have all expressed and the Horrendous and True facts that so called computer models and pre planning promises aren’t worth the paper they are written on. I think the Scottish Government must hang it’s head in shame that for so long they have ignored our complaints and criticisms and taken all their information direct off the Scottish Renewables web site. For once the objectors are vindicated and despite the group being weighted to the wind industry there is little included in the report that will find favour within that industry. We have already heard the platitudes but the fact is that thousands of wind turbines have already been built on false planning figures and poor impact assessments. Perhaps it is now time for all those ‘no win no fee’ legal sharks to start circling because I am sure they smell blood!

A simple look through the report and the first question that springs to mind is why has this taken two years. What does confuse me is have the Scottish Government received a different version from the rest of us. Changes in planning are described as rigorous improvements? I am unaware of any such changes. Scottish Renewables likewise referred to high standards of guidance. Had those standards been high we would not have all the reported problems with noise, shadow flicker and visual impact. In fact as usuual Scottish Renewables and the Scottish Government have come out with the levels of bovine excrement that we are used to. Was this a whitewash? No, as it pointed to the need for further research and identified serious failings in the system. Could it have been better. Most certainly but then we have come to expect this sort of thing from consultants employed by the industry or the Scottish Government. The advisers chosen were not what we would describe as independent as there names are consistently linked with wind farm developers. I think Murdo Fraser put it succinctly when he said People are fed up with turbines. I would add and those apologists for them!

http://www.climatexchange.org.uk/reducing-emissions/wind-farm-impacts-study1/

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A view from Murdo Fraser MSP

How the wind subsidy train was blown away

by Murdo Fraser

THERE WAS jubilation in rural Scotland last week with the announcement from the Conservative Government that subsidies for new onshore wind projects were to be scrapped, more or less with immediate effect. Communities across Scotland, who for years had felt under siege from wind power developers desperate to fill their boots with money taken from the pockets of the fuel poor, were celebrating politicians doing that most unusual of things: delivering on manifesto promises.

For it was, indeed, a Conservative manifesto pledge that all new subsidies for onshore wind projects would be ended, and this is exactly what the new Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, has delivered.

Now it goes without saying that not everyone was happy that the subsidy train was being blown away. There were the predictable squeals of protest from the wind power industry, which had gorged itself on bill-payers’ cash for so long. The SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the announcement as “wrong-headed, perverse and downright outrageous”. And the wind industry’s favourite politician, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, was on his feet in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, denouncing the move as “irrational” and “utter folly”.

This was a curious change in tone for Fergus Ewing. Back in 2007, when he was in opposition, he campaigned hard against wind farms in his own Inverness constituency. At that time he told the Badenoch & Strathspey Herald that: “The SNP believes that many other forms of renewable energy are the future – not unconstrained wind farms”.

As I pointed out to Mr Ewing in the Scottish Parliament Chamber on Tuesday, communities across Scotland would draw a contrast between a Conservative Party which in opposition promised to act against the overdevelopment of onshore wind power, and in government delivered on its promises – and an SNP Energy Minister who in opposition said one thing, but in government did precisely the opposite.

Both the Minister and the wind industry complained that these changes had been sprung upon them without prior notice. Sadly for them, this view simply does not fit with the facts. 

On the 24th April 2014, more than a year ago, the then Energy Minister Michael Fallon stated clearly that any onshore wind project which had not been granted planning permission before the election would not get any subsidy. In fact, by moving this date back to the 18th June 2015, Amber Rudd was actually being more generous to the industry than was originally being proposed.

There have been the predictable dire warnings of a blow to the Scottish economy of up to £3 billion of investment lost, and 5,000 jobs at risk. But many involved in the wind industry would themselves concede that they expected wind power to be cost competitive without subsidy as soon as 2020, and in any event many onshore developers have already started moving investment offshore.

Of course we have heard similar warnings before. When the previous coalition Government cut the subsidies for Solar PV installations, we were warned by the SNP that this would devastate the industry, with business closures and job losses. Today, the Solar PV sector is stronger than it has ever been, as I can testify from my constituency mailbag.

Those who have been caught once crying wolf cannot be expected to be taken seriously the second time around.

Then we have had the claim that bills to consumers will go up, by between £2 and £3 billion. Yet this claim is categorically refuted by Amber Rudd. It is hard to see the argument why reducing the subsidy paid by electricity consumers means that they will end up paying more.

Finally, the argument is made that this will mean that Scotland and the UK will miss our climate change targets. Yet, as the Scottish Conservatives revealed last week, with 7.1GW of onshore wind already operating in Scotland, 0.5GW under construction, and an additional 8.2 GW already having been given planning consent, the SNP’s target of achieving 100% equivalent of electricity consumption from renewable energy by 2020 has effectively already been met.

What all this points to, once again, is a need for a properly balanced energy policy, and for the SNP government to end its fixation with onshore wind. DECC’s announcement is hopefully the first step towards achieving this.

We continue to have a security of supply issue in Scotland, with Longannet, Torness and Hunterston all due to close in the next eight years, meaning we will lose 55% of our electricity generating capacity, with nothing in the pipeline to replace it.

The SNP need to urgently rethink their ideological opposition to new nuclear, when that is the most cost-effective way of providing low-carbon base load, and on a “whole system cost” basis, cheaper than intermittent wind with the required back up or storage.

There will of course be an ongoing need for unsubsidised onshore wind, but in a more managed fashion than we have seen up until now. And we will need to continue to invest in other renewable technologies: hydro, solar, biomass, offshore wind, wave and tidal. A proper mix needs to be the foundation of our energy supply.

Amber Rudd has set us on the right track. Ironically, I suspect that the Fergus Ewing of 2007 would be in full agreement with her direction of travel.

Courtesy of ThinkScotland.org

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Planning in England and Wales

Ministers announce onshore wind farm regime change

by on June 25, 2015

The government has wasted little time in honouring manifesto pledges over giving local communities a greater say over onshore wind farm projects and axing subsidies for them.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has announced new planning rules, in the guise of new policy measures, which took effect from 18 June.

Under these new provisions councils should only grant permission for wind turbines in their area if the site is in an area identified as suitable for wind energy as part of a local or neighbourhood plan and following consultation, the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore have their backing.

Clark told Parliament: “This will ensure the planning concerns of local communities are addressed – even if they give their backing for wind farms in their area through the local or neighbourhood plan.

“If a planning application has already been made for wind turbines in an area where the local plan does not identify suitable sites, the council will only be able to approve the application where it addresses the planning concerns of the affected community and therefore has local backing.”

Great pity the same conditions don’t apply in Scotland which has just passes the Community Empowerment Bill. Needless to say there is no such direction from the Scottish Ministers to support local communities.

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Fergus Ewing doing what he is best at – Supporting Scottish Tourism

And this is the counterpoint to FE’s support of wind. You can’t have it both ways.

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Facts to date – Oral Report to Parliament

Oral statement to Parliament

Statement on ending subsidies for onshore wind

Oral Statement by Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on ending subsidies for onshore wind.

Mr Speaker, with your permission I would like to make a statement on ending new subsidies for onshore wind.

This Government is committed to meeting objectives on cutting carbon emissions and to continue to make progress towards the UK’s 2020 renewable energy targets.

The renewable electricity programme aims to deliver at least 30% of the UK’s electricity demand from renewables by 2020.

We are on course to achieve this objective. Renewables already make up almost 20% of our electricity generation and there is a strong pipeline to deliver the rest.

As we decarbonise it is imperative that we manage the costs to consumers. Although renewable energy costs have been coming down, subsidies still form part of people’s energy bills and as the share of renewables in the mix grows, the impact gets proportionally larger.

Mr Speaker, it is one of this Government’s priorities to bring about the transition to low carbon generation as cost effectively and securely as possible.

The Levy Control Framework, covering the period up to 2020/21 is one of the tools to help achieve this. It limits the impact of support for low carbon electricity on consumer bills.

We have a responsibility to efficiently manage support schemes within the Levy Control Framework to ensure that we maintain public support for the action we are taking to bring down carbon emissions and combat climate change.

Government support is designed to help technologies stand on their own two feet, not to encourage a permanent reliance on subsidy.

We must continue to take tough judgements about what new projects get subsidies.

Onshore wind has deployed successfully to-date and is an important part of our energy mix.

In 2014, onshore wind made up around 5% of electricity generation, supported by around £800m of subsidies.

At the end of April 2015, there were 490 operational onshore wind farms in the UK, comprising 4751 turbines in total.

These wind farms have an installed capacity of 8.3GW enough to power the equivalent of over 4.5 million homes.

The Electricity Market Reform Delivery Plan projects that we require between 11-13 GW of electricity to be provided by onshore wind by 2020 to meet our 2020 renewable electricity generation objective while remaining within the limits of what is affordable.

We now have enough onshore wind in the pipeline, including projects that have planning permission, to meet this requirement comfortably.

Without action we are very likely to deploy beyond this range.

We could end up with more onshore wind projects than we can afford – which would lead to either higher bills for consumers, or other renewable technologies, such as offshore wind, losing out on support.

We need to continue investing in less mature technologies so that they realise their promise, just as onshore wind has done.

It is therefore appropriate to curtail further subsidised deployment of onshore wind, balancing the interests of onshore developers with those of bill payers.

This Government was elected with a commitment to end new subsidies for onshore wind and also to change the law so that local people have the final say on onshore wind applications.

We are now acting on that commitment.

Alongside proposals outlined within the new Energy Bill to devolve decision making for new onshore wind farms out of Whitehall, My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has set out further considerations to be applied to proposed wind energy development in England so that local people have the final say on onshore wind farm applications.

I set out to Parliament on 18th June proposals to end new subsidies for onshore wind, specifically in relation to the Renewables Obligation, which will be closed to new onshore wind from 1st April 2016 – a year earlier than planned.

Mr. Speaker my Department’s analysis indicates that, after taking account of an early closure, onshore wind deployment under the RO will be in the region of 11.6GW.

With this capacity, and that of onshore wind projects that have received support through the new Contracts for Difference, we expect around 12.3GW of onshore wind to be operating in the UK by 2020 supported by the Levy Control Framework providing around 10% of electricity generation.

This puts us above the middle of the deployment range set out in the EMR Delivery Plan, our best estimates of what we would need to meet the planned contribution from renewable electricity to our 2020 targets.

I have proposed a grace period which would continue to give access to support under the RO to those projects which, as of 18th June 2015, already have planning consent, a grid connection offer and acceptance and evidence of land rights for the site on which their projects will be built.

We estimate that around 7.1 GW of onshore wind capacity proposed across the UK will not be eligible for the grace period and are therefore unlikely to go ahead as a result of announcement of the 18 June.

That equates to around 250 projects totalling around 2500 turbines now unlikely to be built.

Therefore, by closing the RO to onshore wind early, we are ensuring that we meet our renewable electricity objectives, while managing the impact on consumer bills and ensuring that other renewables technologies continue to develop and reduce their costs.

Consumer bills will not rise because of this change. Indeed, those onshore wind projects unlikely now to go ahead would have cost hundreds of millions of pounds.

I believe this draws the line in the right place.

In advance of this announcement, I and other Ministers and officials have been discussing these proposals with the Devolved Administrations in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Now want to hear the further views from devolved administrations, and also industry and other stakeholders.

This is just the beginning of the process, and we will continue to consult with them as we move towards implementation.

The changes to the Renewables Obligation do not affect remote island wind proposals which would not have been in a position to receive RO subsidy even under previous timelines and I will be saying more about how future CFD projects will be treated in due course.

But I am particularly conscious of the fact that 68% of the onshore wind pipeline relates to projects in Scotland.

I will continue to consult with colleagues in the Scottish Government, indeed I am meeting the Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, on Wednesday.

And by implementing these changes through primary legislation, they will be subject to full parliamentary scrutiny including from Members representing Scottish constituencies.

Mr Speaker, with regard to Contracts for Difference,

We have the tools available to implement our manifesto commitments on onshore wind and will set out how we will do so when announcing plans in relation to further CfD allocations.

I will also shortly be considering options for future support for community onshore wind projects that might represent one or two turbines, through the feed-in tariff (FITs) as part of the review that my department is conducting this year.

I do not wish to stand in the way of local communities coming together to generate low carbon electricity in a manner that is acceptable to them, including through small scale wind capacity.

However, that action must be affordable as well as acceptable.

Mr Speaker, clean energy doesn’t begin and end with onshore wind.

Onshore wind is an important part of our current and future low-carbon energy mix.

But we are reaching the limits of what is affordable, and what the public is prepared to accept.

We are committed to meeting our decarbonisation objectives. The changes I have outlined to Parliament will not change this.

And I look forward to having meaningful discussions, with industry, with other stakeholders and with colleagues in the House and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, on how we move forward.

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Noise data new weapon in war on windfarms

Noise data new weapon in war on windfarms.

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The Climate Wars’ Damage to (Credible) Science

Dougal Quixote:

Unacceptable to the new religion of Climate Change, debate is as natural as the sun rising in the morning.

Originally posted on Quixotes Last Stand:

The great thing about science is that it’s self-correcting. The good drives out the bad, because experiments get replicated and hypotheses tested — or so I used to think. Now, thanks largely to climate science, I see bad ideas can persist for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they become intolerant dogmas.

Matt Ridley — Quadrant — June 19, 2015

For much of my life I have been a science writer. That means I eavesdrop on what’s going on in laboratories so I can tell interesting stories. It’s analogous to the way art critics write about art, but with a difference: we “science critics” rarely criticise. If we think a scientific paper is dumb, we just ignore it. There’s too much good stuff coming out of science to waste time knocking the bad stuff.

Sure, we occasionally take a swipe at pseudoscience—homeopathy, astrology, claims that genetically modified food…

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