SNH Survey

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SNH is doing a customer survey. Their customers it would seem are developers and planners, not the people who pay their wages! I think all of us who have to deal with SNH have been extremely disappointed at their behaviour and lack of protection for Scotland’s Natural Heritage. A previous survey suggests that their relationship with developers is far too close for a body tasked to protect the environment. But then their previous Chairman clearly stated that when the Minister says jump, they say how high!

SNH Planning & Development – Customer Survey 2014

Why Research has been commissioned to undertake a short online survey among Planning System customers.  Here is the link to this anonymous survey, which is hosted by Why Research, an independent market research company.  Feel free to have your say! Date they have to be in for is 4th Aug 2014.

I have been sent one response which I think hit the nail on the head. You may wish to read it.

“It is a disgrace that SNH do not comment on smaller onshore wind developments, rely on developer’s EIAs, allow their own guidance to be ignored, cannot object unless the impact is deemed to be nationally significant (or some such qualification), allow themselves to be railroaded by developers so that initial objections get watered down into “concerns”, do not take legal action  or otherwise protest when SNH objections are ignored by Ministers, and cannot produce relevant guidance that is binding and up-to-date. The fact that the new visualisation guidance still hasn’t appeared is a scandal and means many onshore wind applications are being consented on the basis of information that is deliberately misleading – as SNH well knows. Cumulative impact on landscape, wildlife, hydrology etc is a huge concern for decision-makers but clear and up-to-date guidance, research and rules simply aren’t there – SNH officers wringing their hands in anguish and moaning about a lack of resources does nothing. In general SNH is doing a rotten job in protecting Scotland’s landscape from inappropriate turbine development and is far too obviously bending to pressure from both the Scottish Government and wind developers. NGOs and private individuals have to take up the slack – witness the shenanigans about getting a Wild Land Map, which is nevertheless much too late, much too thin and not efficacious because it is not binding in planning terms. If Scotland is supposed to be leading the world in developing renewable energy, why isn’t it also leading the world in monitoring, assessing and researching its impacts on natural heritage? The answer of course is obvious and goes to the heart of the issue. SNH is not independent and must back, and be seen to back, government policy, however bad it might be for the natural environment. Its failure to protect the Scottish countryside from exploitative development is so grievous, and the loss of public trust in it by those who are informed so great, that it should be abolished.
SNH needs to live up to its mission statement and stop kow-towing to government. It is not listening to people, to Community Councillors, Councillors and NGOs – and the tens of thousands of ordinary people who have objected to wind turbines on natural heritage grounds. The worst thing is that Andrew Thin the former Chair knew this very well – as was made clear to an anti-wind activist at one of the regional receptions SNH likes to hold to meet the people. But as he said SNH’s job is to carry out SG policy so you can take a hike!

So our assessment: SNH is so indoctrinated by Groupthink and obeisance to Scottish Ministers aspirations that there is virtually nothing will change them. We know of people that sit on the committees that decide policy and they live in another world. Question a policy, based on fact and peer review, and you might as well suggest they eat their babies! SNH and their advisors could NEVER be WRONG!! On the 50 mm lens, industry standard(?) for photo montages we raised strong objections. SNH advice actually says lens in excess of 50mm but SNH has never challenged a single developer on that inconvenient fact! New Visualisation Guidance is still stuck in their time warp. That we were able to provide world leading experts in camera technology and world leading practitioners in photo montages, now backed up by Stirling University and also by the 75mm lens requirement of The Highland Council for planning applications. Interestingly community presentation nearly always revert to the 50mm lens despite 75mm being provided to the planners. Reason for that is obvious to a blind man! The SNH response to Beinn Mhor at Glen Affric is simply unbelievable. On numerous aspects it raises serious issues but concludes each by a quote from the ES which is almost farcical! Could Scottish Natural Heritage be better described as the developer’s boot licking department? Because it is not the protector of our natural heritage.


About Dougal Quixote

Slightly mad. Always believes a cup is half full so continues to tilt at Wind Turbines and the politicians that seem to believe it is their god given right to ruin Scotland for a pot of fool's gold.
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One Response to SNH Survey

  1. cornwallwindwatch says:

    Reblogged this on Cornwall Wind Watch.

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