After all the grand words about protecting wild places we may all look a little surprised at The Highland Council’s decision not to raise an objection to the two wind farms that came before them last week. This follows closely on the tail of Stronelairg over which no objection was raised.
The belief, wrong headed in my view, of Highland Councillors is that if they object to developments in isolated parts, we will see an explosion of proposals in more populated areas(I am reliably informed that there are a whole raft of applications being discussed). My view is that if they seem acquiescent to these developments, Highland Council will be seen as a soft touch and the explosion will be even greater. They have been sold this principle and they don’t really like it but they see the alternative as much worse. We have some planners who are beholden to the Climate lie! The truth is that as the Beauly-Denny line comes to its conclusion it will be like throwing chum off the back of a boat. The sharks will come in for a feeding frenzy the like of which we can’t even imagine. I know of at least three local schemes that are just awaiting developments and then will be putting in fast track applications. SSE has just approved £200million for Drumnaglas which we all thought had been superceded by West Glenmoriston. If they get their way there will not be one hill, glen or byroad not totally obliterated by a wind farm in this area. Other applications already approved have requested upgrades in size and extra turbines. Novar is now talking about Novar 3 and Fairburn is planning Fairburn 2 of an extra 36 turbines. The truth is that Highland Council, and by that we mean us, the “rate” payer, has to take a pragmatic view of what financial resources are available to fight these wind farms. If despite all the cost of a public local inquiry, ScotGov is simply going to rubber stamp the application in pursuance of their political ambitions, is this a responsible use of limited funds. Now here I and Highland Council may differ, as I believe that if you are seen as difficult and willing to take any application to the wire, developers, by their very nature, will pursue applications in other more welcoming areas. However, taking a pragmatic view; head rather than heart; I must accept that the termination of the Beauly-Denny line at the Wester Balblair substation means that we are dealing with a pack of cards of which the developers have all the aces and we are left with the joker. Our only hope is that the independence vote will show that the Scottish people are far happier to be part of a United Kingdom and that the SNP leadership are consigned to history, possibly as those that did more to destroy Scotland than the Duke of Cumberland. Then and only then can local democracy stand a chance of prevailing.