WIND FARMS - Blowing in the Wind

NEMT continues the rallying cry for a co-ordinated approach to the building of Wind Farms, this in co-ordination with a structured Renewables Energy Strategy for Scotland.

In this respect it is encouraging to note that Aberdeenshire Councillors have called for co-ordinated action by local authorities to deal with wind farm applications. As Councillor Alastair Ross succinctly put it "Our landscape is suffering death by a thousand cuts" backed up by Councillor Richard Stroude asked "How do we gauge the cumulative impact when such applications come along but we are unable to visualise the whole picture?"

We include herewith a letter from the "Stop Corriemoillie" campaign. This Ross-shire group are voicing their disappointment at the approval of this next wind farm that was granted on 23rd March 2011.

"Our landscape is suffering death by a thousand cuts"
says Local Councillor

Dear Fellow Supporters,

"Stop Corriemoillie"
We have to report the very disappointing news that Highland Council approved the planning permission for the Corriemoillie Wind Farm, at the Public Hearing, despite overwhelming public opposition.

This is a pretty devastating blow after all the efforts made by many people, not to mention the funds spent. We put up as good a fight as possible, backed by the experts we employed but all valid legal and landscape arguments were dismissed.

At least we managed to secure a hearing when we could voice our serious concerns, and we achieved a considerable amount of media coverage locally.

We just have to hope that the council officials, councillors and politicians see sense before Scotland's natural heritage is totally ruined.

Finally, thank you so much to everyone who came along to support us on Tuesday, and to those of you who were unable to join us but continued to support us from near and afar. We also thank you for your many emails and phone calls of support.

With kind regards,

From everyone at Stop Corriemoillie

Stop Corriemoillie Now is a group local residents, and many others, opposed to inappropriate development in the Garve and Achnasheen vicinity.
Postal address: Stop Corriemoillie, c/o 1 Bignold Place, Achnasheen, Scotland IV22 2EG

Gordon Strachan can also update us on Pressendye

The Pressendye Saga continues..........

Just when we all thought we had been successful in getting rid of the proposed 7-turbine wind farm on top of Pressendye, an application was received for another development to the east of that site, this time at a lower level.

Green Cat Renewables on behalf of Renewable Energy Ventures Ltd with Lord Nicol Stephen as one of their owners, lodged plans for a three turbine windfarm at Blackhills, Cushnie (between Blackhills farm and Burnside). This would entail three 100m / 328ft high turbines, sitting at a ground height of approximately 350m /1200ft (top blade height at around 450m / 1530ft) a veritable eyesore as one approaches Tarland from the east on the B9119. Pittenderrich hill stands at 508m / 1665ft whilst Pressendye itself is 619m / 2025ft and it takes little stretch of the imagination to visualise the overall impact.

Once again it highlights the need for an overall, countrywide strategy for windfarm planning never mind the current piecemeal approach which encourages back-door acceptance of the questionable need for such renewable energy sources. North East Mountain Trust is not against progress per se where it is well thought out and merited but do believe that the current methodology requires a radical rethink. Perhaps the next Scottish Parliament will have the nerve to tackle this thorny issue.

A local group was set up to counter the threat — Stop Turbines in Cushnie a.k.a. STIC and their website is worth a visit. Although the date for public comment passed on 24th March, there is still time to make one's opinions heard by e-mailing Aberdeenshire Council Planning Department - Planning Ref APP2011/0174. 200 comments have so far been lodged with the authority. Certain errors were made in the original application and further clarification has been called for. At date of writing, no date for a decision on the application has been set.

The arguments put forward against the original Pressendye proposal are equally applicable to the current one - a visual eyesore, questionable efficiency, a potential wildlife threat and a possible hazard to the local water courses, to name a few. Never mind the unthinkable back door opening for ever more badly sited structures should this one succeed!

Gordon Strachan, Treasurer

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