THE MYTH OF Green energy
by Struan Stevenson
Foreword by Bill Jamieson
At a Press Call this morning in Edinburgh, Struan Stevenson, author of the new book So Much Wind: The Myth of Green Energy, made the following comments.
“I have been campaigning against wind energy for ten years and what I say here is my own opinion and not necessarily that of the Conservative Party.”
“Historically Scotland has set an example to the world in protecting our landscape and wild lands. Now we are wrecking our environment by building windfarms in the most inappropriate of sites. Take the example of peat bogs and sea grass meadows which both store more CO2 than rainforests. Now companies are offering money to landowners to destroy the peat bogs with wind turbine installation, releasing that CO2 into the environment. It becomes counter productive. And similarly with offshore installations are set to destroy the sea grass meadows. Planners don’t seem to know or understand their importance and are hell bent on building.”
“In many ways we are experiencing a new wave of Highland clearances. Tourists no longer want to go to sites dominated by windfarms – we are vandalizing our own landscapes and windfarms are even under consideration overlooking sites of world interest including the Old Course at St Andrews and Culzean Castle. House values are going through the floor and health effects are now becoming known – communities are dying as a direct result. The SNP Government’s claim that jobs have been created has been proved false. Most of the turbines are built overseas and jobs here are going to workers brought in from abroad. If you need evidence of that, drive out of one windfarm in South Ayrshire and see signs in Spanish reminding workers to drive on the left.”
Struan was asked if the head of the companies involved would rebuff his claims and he answered that “Yes, they would claim it was a work of fiction. But speak to those affected: Norrie Gibson, bought a small holding for the peace, quiet and stunning views. It is now surrounded by the biggest windfarm in Europe with turbines only 300 metres from his door. Since installation he has seen six wind turbines collapse. The flicker effect and constant noise is driving him crazy. Planning guidelines state that there should be 2 km between wind turbines and dwellings but because this is just guidance they are ignored. The sound is like that of a high flying jet overhead and when the wind is blowing it is constant. No compensation has been given.”
When asked about ‘zoning’ and windfarms he replied, “Ten thousand letters of complaint to the Scottish Government have been ignored. The Government should zone Scotland to consider suitability for windfarms. This has been discussed but has never been done. Communities spend endless resources to fight planning applications and even when successful, it is called in by central government and overturned in favour of windfarm developers.”
“On the edge of the Cairngorm nation Park there are five wind farms planned which would be visible for tens of miles, perhaps even 50 miles. Our Government is saying that wildlands are diminishing and Alex Salmond claims his party is reindustrialising Scotland, but he’s industrialising areas which were never industrialised in the first place. I love my country and I don’t want to leave my children and grandchildren a country that is the equivalent of taking a knife across the face of a Rembrandt painting.”
In So Much Wind: The Myth of Green Energy Struan Stevenson puts forward the case that wind farms are not the answer, that they are in fact causing more problems than they are solving and that at the heart of the problem is money. For example:
§ The 2011 KPMG report entitled ‘Rethinking the Unaffordable’, said the UK Government could save each member of the population almost £550 by 2020 if it abandoned its plans for wind energy in favour of cheaper gas-fired and nuclear plants. It could still achieve its target of 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and save £34 billion in the process.
§ Britain has the most generous subsidies for renewable energy in Europe. It is estimated that a dozen or more of Scotland’s wealthiest private landowners will pocket around £1 billion in rental fees over the next eight years and the Crown Estates will net billions of pounds from leasing large tracts of seabed for offshore developments.
§ Scottish consumers are seeing energy bills rise three times faster than wages, and a Scottish Government report predicts the average fuel spend in homes will exceed 12% by 2015. Households are considered ‘fuel poor’ if they spend over 10% of the net income on fuel bills. The SNP wants to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016. The numbers don’t stack up.
Struan Stevenson has served as a Conservative Euro MEP for Scotland since 1999. He is President of the Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Intergroup and Chairman of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq. In 2010 he was appointed by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation Europe (OSCE) as a Personal Representative (Roving Ambassador) of the Chairman in Office (Kazakhstan) responsible for Ecology and Environment with a particular focus on Central Asia. His previous book, Stalin’s Legacy, was published by Birlinn in August 2012. Bill Jamieson is the Executive Editor of The Scotsman. Struan is available for interview.
So much wind: the myth of green energy by struan stevenson
Published 21st February by Birlinn
£7.99 Paperback ISBN 978 178027 113 2
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