This week the long awaited Scottish National Heritage Report 2012
The results show that the area of Scotland from which one or more types of built development can be seen increased to 71% in 2012, an increase of six percentage points from 2008. Examined individually, most of the different types of development showed either no change or a change of less than 1% (Table 1). The largest change in visual influence comes from wind turbines; increasing from 35.6% (2010) to 41.7% in 2012, more than doubling the 19.9% 2008 baseline.
A truly horrifying piece when you consider that between 2012 and 2013 yet more wind farms were commissioned and that there are 57 Section 36 (>50MW) wind farm applications before the Scottish Ministers at this time with an indeterminate number, still in scoping, to shortly be referred. This of course ignores the mass of smaller wind farms(<50MW) which are with or already approved by local council planning committees or in some cases by devolved powers. One cannot believe that a troika of nationalist politicians has effectively destroyed huge parts of the Scottish landscape. Even today concerns were raised about the mass of wind farms planned for Dumfries and Galloway that would surround the new Dark Skies Park opened in 2009. Prof. John Brown, The Astronomer Royal for Scotland has joined the John Muir Trust and the Scottish Wild Land Group and written to the Scottish Government calling for the area to be declared off limits for more wind farms. The facility is the only Dark Sky Park in Britain and is home to the world’s only publicly accessible, research-grade observatory within a Gold Tier Dark Sky Park. Ironically, it was opened by First Minister Alex Salmond last year.
Ministry of Defence and Aviation Authority safety requirements mean that some wind turbines must be illuminated by infra-red light and, in some areas used regularly for training or search and rescue, visible light illumination may also be needed.
Turbines near the park could fall into the latter category, and the campaigners said it would affect both the ability of astronomers to use sensitive equipment, and the visibility of stars, galaxies, comets and northern lights.