If ever there was an Oxymoron, this comes close. A Guidance for Wind Planning. Hey folks, you don’t plan wind , it happens or not, which is more to the point. So forget the pedantics of the inability of ScotGov to define their aims, we look at who they consult with. To start RSPB. Well we know they usually dance to the windies tune. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar: Why the Western Isles Council; they are not exactly flooded with wind farms yet although the Council are known to be pretty pro wind. There is as yet no suitable connection to the mainland or to the south. And the other two named parties: SSE and Scottish Power Renewables: an independant disinterested voice? In fact the obvious gap in the consultation is anyone who is remotely against wind farms. This is a disgrace and hopefully those Councils not run by SNP puppets will kick it into the long grass. Whilst I consider planning long winded and pretty poor, much of that is down to lack of planning officers and an avalanche of complicated wind farm applications. What is needed is realistic and representative planning charges. England charges a max of £250,000. Scotland charges a max £15,950. Plans to upgrade planning costs are in train but still the max is only £100,000. Should developers be providing the Environmental Surveys? Don’t tell me their consultants are independent. Who pays their fees? And he who pays the piper calls the tune! When a wind farm such as Whitelees or Stronelairg is costing in the £100s of millions of pounds, it is ridiculous that Councils are unable to charge a realistic fee. Then they could afford the extra planning officers needed and hire in such as Noise consultants as and when appropriate. However note that Fife declares 30% of their planners absent from stress and the reality that experienced planners can often earn exceedingly large incomes as planning consultants for Developers!
The fact that the majority of this is culled from an EU website designed to support and advise the Wind Farm industry is far from coincidental. The Good Practice Wind Guide http://www.project-gpwind.eu/ lists it’s aims here:
By bringing together developers, regional and local government, environmental agencies and NGOs from different countries to share experiences, it has been possible to develop a set of Good Practice Guidance and a Toolkit, which can be used to aid more effective and efficient deployment of renewable energy in support of the 2020 targets.
Note we are back to those disgracefull and much maligned 2020 targets. Now proven by all who don’t draw a big fat salary from the Anthropogenic Climate Change Industry as a figment of imagination, unjustified and demonstrably inaccurate.
Please read the Guidance and voice your concerns to your local MSP. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2012/08/wind21812
I will add a rather good assessment and letter to the Daily Mail by Linda Holt of Communities against Turbines Scotland
“If Mr Ewing really wants to “reconcile renewable energy objectives with environmental concerns, and actively involve communities in the planning process”, he wouldn’t be grandstanding with an EU-funded project and producing yet more “guidance” which ruthless wind developers will just ignore. He would be listening to local communities in Scotland and respecting local democracy – and making sure developers did the same. Mr Ewing could, for instance, allow local authorities to impose temporary moratoria so that they can develop planning policies to cope with the deluge of speculative turbine applications. He could ensure planning departments had the resources to assess windfarm applications properly. He could make Community Councils fit for purpose in responding to turbine applications – often they are not even statutory consultees. He could stop developers commissioning inevitably biased Environmental Impact Assessments and pass this duty on to an independent, accountable body. He could impose a proper neighbour nottification system for turbines so that everyone affected is notified, not just immediate neighbours within 20m. He could make the 2 km setback for industrial turbines from human dwellings – as recommended by the British Medical Journal – mandatory. He could fund SNH adequately and allow it to be politically independent so that safeguarding Scottish landscape and ecology wasn’t sacrificed to the First Minister’s ambitions for a “Saudi Arabia of Wind”.