I AGREE with the views expressed by Rhona Weir, the widow of TV presenter and leading conservationist Tom Weir, about the threat to the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond from windfarm developments ("TV presenter's widow to oppose windfarm plans", The Herald, April 11).
She is right to highlight that Scotland suffers from a “blind-eye syndrome’’ in relation to the deficiencies of windfarms.
Their shortcomings in terms of major visual impact and inefficiencies are masked by generous “community bribes’’ from the taxpayer, and at what real cost to outstanding scenic areas such as Loch Lomond? Sadly, the hills around the loch and in the wider National Park are coming under increasing pressure from windfarm developers, planners and others eager to cash in on the Scottish Government’s dash to generate energy from unpredictable wind sources. This means voluntary groups such as the Friends of Loch Lomond & the Trossachs are having to devote more scarce resources to protect the special qualities of the area by fighting well-funded developers.
Your article is very timely as the National Park Authority’s seriously-flawed windfarm policies, in the first finalised draft Local Plan for the National Park, are in danger of not being properly scrutinised by the Reporters charged with conducting public hearings at present as part of the land review process. Under the new “streamlined’’ planning hearing system the Reporters are under no obligation to hear the views of objectors to the park’s proposals to adopt policies that encourage the development of clusters of unsightly windfarms in scenic areas throughout the National Park.
There is an urgent need for a major rethink on the real cost of windfarms in relation to Scotland’s renewable energy needs as we are in great danger of doing irreparable damage to some of Scotland’s most precious scenic assets while making minimal inroads into our carbon footprint. This was reinforced in a recent study by Scottish Natural Heritage and highlighted by the John Muir Trust, which is critical of the rapid loss of wilderness areas to large scale industrialised wind turbine structures.
I strongly believe national treasures such as Loch Lomond should be a no-go area for windfarm developments and there is tremendous scope for the renewable energy targets to be met in other ways such as less intrusive run-of-the-river hydro, wave turbine and biomass schemes.
President, Friends of Loch Lomond & the Trossachs, Auchendarroch, Tarbet.
Alan J Sangster (avoids mentioning “back-up” in his letter supporting windfarms (April 11). This parallel power station generation must be available continuously to ensure a reliable electricity supply. UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said in December that windfarms involve “additional financial support for the construction of reserve plants to provide a safety cushion as Britain increasingly relies on electricity from intermittent sources such as wind and the sun”. Fossil fuel back-up generation is itself emission-producing without carbon capture and storage.
As Scottish Renewables has said, windfarms cannot generate base-load electricity and neither can they generate demand responsive electricity and claims that windfarms save CO2 emissions are not backed up by evidence. They are part of the problem of climate change. It is regrettable that current planning approvals are about to cause the despoilation and degradation of massive areas of Scotland.
A R Nelson,
5, Scarletmuir, Lanark.
Alan J Sangster highlights the future problems which will arise from consumption of fossil fuels until they have all gone. Clark Cross argues that other countries such a China and America are growing their economies and emissions (Letters, April 11). In this month’s Scientific American, there was an article pointing out that China was now the leader in clean-energy technologies, about two and a half times ahead of the US. New investment in 2010 for wind energy in China was $45 billion, in the US $17 billion, Germany and Italy $4.5 billion each, and UK about $1.5 billion. In every country listed wind energy was the clean energy source with the biggest investment, apart from Spain, where solar power was bigger. Of the 12 countries listed the UK was actually the lowest in wind-energy investment.
Perhaps Clark Cross and others criticising wind energy should be writing to newspapers in US and China to give the experts there the benefit of their opinions.
Winkfield, Tradespark Road, Nairn.
You published two contrasting prescriptions for decisions needed to maintain power supplies and ensure a relatively stable climate. Alan Sangster’s confidence in renewables and his assertion of threats to the earth from continued fossil fuels seems to exceed even those of their most extreme proponents. When does his evidence come from?
Clark Cross, on the other hand, is in line with evidence from the Continent, where subsidies for renewables are being discontinued in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, and very grave doubts about “global warming” are being internationally voiced.
In any event, the notional connection between renewable power sources and reductions in CO2 output has been entirely discredited.
When will our political classes realise that suspicions about CO2 damaging climate change are receding rapidly and are being ignored by our international manufacturing competitors?
It’s time for repeal of the Climate Change Acts, before the costs finally ruin us, to no useful purpose.
Dr Charles Wardrop,
111 Viewlands Road West, Perth.
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