Let Malcolm Kirk explain …

Malcolm Kirk

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Why does this matter?

Only too commonplace throughout Scotland are similar classic examples of irresponsible speculative applications, wasting the scarce and valuable resources of planners and other authorities involved. Harm caused to those affected is ignored both by developers and vested interests – as are the resulting adverse health, visual impacts and gross environmental damage so often caused.

It matters to residents and visitors on both sides of Loch Awe because:

  • The visual impact of a development of this scale in this location will have far-reaching effects on their lives, their well being and their legitimate enjoyment of the amenities. Sound, including infrasound also known as Low Frequency Noise, affects close neighbours to turbines and is magnified across bodies of water. Potential adverse health effects are well documented in peer reviewed reports, details of which can be found on this blog.
  • The area is especially vulnerable to losses in the tourist industry from the destruction of cherished landscapes such as this. The Reporter’s recently delivered refusal of another developer’s Appeal against Argyll & Bute Planning Authority’s rejection of the nearby Ardchonnel windfarm application incorporated specific recognition of the damaging effect on tourism in the area.
  • There are very real threats to protected species, including golden eagles and other wild life with habitats in the adjacent officially designated SPA (Special Protected Area). Importantly, there is also a risk that private water supplies may be seriously contaminated by, as has occurred in other windfarm developments in Scotland. For details of such implications see the document ‘Request for Action’ in http://www.windsofjustice.org.uk.
    19 colossal turbines 450 feet high will not only dominate the hills-and-water landscape of North Loch Awe. The building of a gigantic industrial complex of steel, fibreglass and concrete, with access roads for mammoth construction equipment and quarries for the vast amount of foundation materials needed, will cause destruction of the land and unprecedented disruption to the roads network.

It matters because:

The North-East end of Loch Awe is an inland landscape of mountains, loch and islands whose configuration is second to none in Scotland. It contains:

  • no fewer than twelve islands.
  • two historic ruined castles – Kilchurn and Fraoch Eilean.
  • an ancient burial ground at the Chapel of Fyndoca on the island of Inishail with carved stones dating back to crusading times.
    ten offshore crannogs along its shoreline.

The Chapel of Fyndoca and Kilchurn Castle are both Scheduled Monuments.

As well as the beauty and undisturbed tranquillity of the Loch Awe landscape – repeatedly immortalised in literature and paintings such as J M W Turner’s watercolour of Kilchurn Castle, Sir Walter Scott’s novella The Highland Widow and the poetry of the blind bard of Glen Orchy, Duncan Ban MacIntyre, whose monument overlooks the entire wide panorama of the loch from above Ardteatle Bay – the powerful historic and aesthetic inspiration of the region is of immense intrinsic interest to our tourist industry as well as to the general well-being of Argyll and the West Highlands. We cannot stand by and allow this wonderful, unique environment to be desecrated by the intrusion of gigantic wind turbines – not just overlooking, but actually WITHIN it. No amount of cosmetic ‘landscaping’, could mitigate the appearance of a major industrial development covering an ugly, barren scar of newly felled coniferous forest, wholly detrimental to the ambience and nature of the area.

Serious questions are increasingly being asked as to the overall value and efficacy of onshore wind-generated power and its role in the mix of secure, stable, reliable energy needed to fulfil the domestic and industrial needs of our society. While these questions are outside the parameters of a judgement of the merits or otherwise of a planning application, what is indisputable is that the wrong type of energy generation in the wrong place will do immeasurable harm.

The Upper Sonachan Wind farm proposal falls firmly into this category. All who recognise this are urged to make their feelings known by registering their objection. For guidance on how best to do so, please click on the flyer image on the top right of the side bar.

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Upper Sonachan Wind Farm Objection

Planning Application to the Scottish Government by Ecotricity Ltd.

This group of six pictures of – LOCH AWE & BEN CRUACHAN and is intended to highlight “in the round” the great natural beauty of our environment and to illustrate how detrimentally it would be affected by the construction of gigantic wind turbines in a prominent position within it. Although the photographs in Appendix A, B and C were taken several years ago, the landscape topography remains unchanged and will to this day appear substantially the same to anyone seeing it from these viewpoints lucky enough to enjoy similar weather conditions. For copyright reasons we cannot include any of the 24 visualisations prepared by Ecotricity from their chosen viewpoints, but they may be seen in the developer’s Environmental Statement, available for consultation at Oban Library and at Argyll and Bute Council Oban offices, or to view or download from http://www.ecotricity.co.uk/upper-sonachan.

All six original photographs in this presentation were taken by Andrew A. Rose and are copyright. The recent images P1, P2 and P3 include visualisations of the proposed turbines in situ prepared by Malcolm Kirk.

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 P1. VIEW FROM APPROACH ROAD TO CRUACHAN DAM on the shoulder of Ben Cruachan | OS Map Ref. 72645 21085. Date 30 May 2015. 75mm lens. | This is just one of the views seen by walkers and climbers taking the easy route up Ben Cruachan, and by organised groups driving up to Cruachan Dam. The sacred isle of Inishail, once the site of a Cistercian Nunnery, occupies a prominent position on the centre left of the picture. Holiday-makers and residents alike would experience even closer views of the proposed wind turbines when circumnavigating the beautiful group of islands in the middle of Loch Awe and when visiting the Chapel of Fyndoca and the ancient burial ground containing several gravestones dating back to Crusader times, on Inishail. Many visitors enjoy camping and picnicking on the islands during the holiday season between April and October.

cruachandam2

P2. VIEW FROM THE PUBLIC ROAD BELOW DUNCAN BAN MACINTyRE MONUMENT near Dalmally, looking West South West. | OS Map Ref. 72585 21430. Date 10 June 2015. 75mm lens. | Looking from left to right in this famous panoramic view: the hillside with the proposed Upper Sonachan Wind “Park”; Loch Awe with some of its islands; the entrance to the Pass of Brander and the shoulder of Ben Cruachan. The already operational wind farms at Carraig Gheal and Beinn Ghlas can be seen on the summits of the two hills centre and right.

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P3. VIEW FROM THE PUBLIC ROAD C29 AT FERNOCH HILL between Kilchrenan and Dalavich.| OS Map Ref. 71985 20145. Date 10 June 2015. | 75mm lens. This is the main tourist route along the north-west side of the loch and a favourite viewpoint for photographers. Panning from left to right we see the shoulder of Ben Cruachan and Loch Awe with Ben Lui in the distance; then on the south side of the loch the ridge of the hill behind which would be situated the proposed Upper Sonachan Wind “Park”. While from this viewpoint the blades of only one turbine would be visible, the remainder just out of sight below the crest of the hill, everyone approaching Kilchrenan from the north on the B845 road will have all 19 turbines in full view from the crest of the hill leading into the village.

sonachanhse

Appendix A: View taken from the hillside above Sonachan house:OS Map Ref: 71985 20395 Showing the whole length of the Ben Cruachan massif. This view of Ben Cruachan is paralleled by that from the site of the proposed Upper Sonachan Windfarm which is approximately one mile to the east; i.e. just beyond the right side of the picture. This wide-angle photo was taken several years ago, but the mountain topography remains unchanged. On right is a diagram emphasising the ‘head-on’ relationship of the proposed windfarm to Ben Cruachan. Unlike many onshore windfarms which are located in relative obscurity on upland plateau, this one would in effect be a full-frontal exposure on sloping ground directly overlooking one of the loveliest reaches of one of the most beautiful lochs in Scotland, as well as being sited directly opposite the magnificent mountain massif of Ben Cruachan and the settlement of Kilchrenan.

ardbrecknish

APPENDIX B: VIEW FROM AFFORESTED GROUND ABOVE ARDBRECKNISH and below the proposed site of the turbines |OS Map Ref. 72065 20760. | As with the photographs reproduced in Appendices A and C, it shows the unmistakable quality of “the sublime”, one of the main sparks that ignited tourism to the West Highlands in the 19th Century. It is a particular irony that this very view should now be facing the intrusive head-on prospect of an industrial complex of gigantic wind turbines attempting to disguise its true nature by describing itself as a “Park”.

cladich

APPENDIX C: VIEW FROM ABOVE THE A819 ROAD at Bovuy near Cladich| Map Ref. OS 72250 21050. | It shows Loch Awe with Inishail and the Black Isles beneath Ben Cruachan and the entrance to the Pass of Brander. The photo was taken several years ago but the landscape topography remains unchanged. Upper Sonachan Wind “Park” would be situated between Aspects A and C on the attached map, directly facing Loch Awe and Ben Cruachan.

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Upper Sonachan wind farm visualisations From original scoping report

Note: The positions of the turbine visualisations pictured here are from the original scoping report and a few have since been slightly moved.  Due to the angle of shot, some turbines are missing. Nonetheless, the overall visual effect remains approximately the same.

photo1

Photo 1. View taken from the shoreline of Loch Awe at the site of the old pier at Ardanaiseig. OS Map Ref. 72455 20935, looking South West. This is the view that holiday-makers and residents alike would experience when circumnavigating the beautiful group of islands in the middle of Loch Awe.

photo2

Photo 2.  The view from the public road from Kilchrenan to Ardanaiseig, near Larach Ban. OS Map Ref. 72330 20660, looking South. Date 10 June 2015, lens 75mm. All visitors to the 5-star Ardanaiseig Hotel would be subjected to this intrusive view every time they pass in or out, in addition to views of the existing Carraig Gheal and Beinn Ghlas windfarms to the West.

photo3

  The view from the public road B845 at the north end of Kilchrenan Village. OS Map Ref. 72340 20355, looking South East. Date 14 May 2015, lens 74mm.

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Campaigner petitions Scottish Parliament about National Scenic Areas

Comment: Much appreciated support for our National Scenic Area Petition from Scotland’s foremost environmental Non Government Organisation, the John Muir Trust.

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John Muir Trust

A Loch Awe community council is calling on the Scottish Parliament to review the NSAs designation process

Christine Metcalfe, on behalf of Avich & Kilchrennan Community Council in the Loch Awe area of Argyll & Bute is petitioning the Scottish Parliament, asking for the Scottish Government to review the process for designation of National Scenic Areas (NSAs) and to consider increasing the number of NSAs in Scotland to protect the natural landscape and support the tourism sector.

Currently, there are 40 NSAs across Scotland. As recently as 2015 the Scottish Government indicated that it had no plans to designate any further NSAs but this latest petition argues that it is becoming clear that due to pressures from various quarters, including those of the renewable energy industry, some areas deserving of the title of National Scenic Area have not yet been recognised as being in urgent need of this. The petition cites the specific case of Loch Awe in Argyll which it argues has a distinct and unique regional character, and provides an increasingly rare, quieter experience in an unspoilt landscape. It is extremely narrow, and is therefore vulnerable to significant detrimental impacts from any large renewable energy or infrastructure projects unavoidably visible to both sides of the loch.

These potential impacts on the tranquility and beauty of the area will have a subsequent impact on the locally dependent tourism sector and upon the natural wildlife in the Loch Awe area (which includes the Glen Etive and Glen Fyne Golden Eagle Special Protection Area).

Although Loch Awe has been used by way of a specific example, the petition argues that the impacts of large infrastructure projects might also affect many other areas of Scotland that have their own distinct and unique regional character.

Take action!

The John Muir Trust supports this petition to ensure the protection of Scotland’s important landscapes from industrial-scale development. Members of the public can sign the petition and give comments before it closes on 7 June, prior to further consideration by the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee.

Sign the petition here – closes 7 June!

 

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DAMAGES & COSTS FOR FAMILIES FORCED TO ABANDONED THEIR HOMES

ajmarciniak

DAMAGES & COSTS FOR FAMILIES FORCED TO ABANDONED THEIR HOMES

Ireland’s wind industry has been put on notice.  Damages and costs will be decided for the families adversely harmed by the noise emitted from wind turbines.  The implications for the industry will no doubt reverberate worldwide. (Read prior court ruling by following link below)

Enercon Admits Liability in High Court Ireland

Court Case Has “Serious Implications” For Wind Farms – Local Campaigner

The future of wind farms in Ireland could be called into question this week.

Seven families from Cork, who claim they had to leave their homes five years ago due to noise levels, will have damages and costs decided by the High Court tomorrow.

It is the first action of its kind in this country and may open industrial wind developers to further legal challenges.

Laois woman Paula Byrne, PRO…

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Neighbours Sue Wind Power Operator – Infigen – for $20m Damages Caused by Devastating Wind Farm Fire

STOP THESE THINGS

On 17 January 2017, wind farm operator Infigen sparked a blaze that ripped across the southern Tablelands of NSW and destroyed 3,400 hectares (8,400 acres), hundreds of sheep and cattle, sheds and at least one home. STT first reported on it on 25 January: Wind Power Setting the World on Fire: Infigen Sparks Devastating NSW Bushfire

The losses suffered by neighbours are in the tens of $millions. A class-action just launched by some of those neighbours is chasing Australia’s most notorious wind power outfit for $20 million in loss and damage, with more neighbours set to join the action and add many $millions more to that number.

Wind farm company sued over bushfire caused by electrocuted crow
The Australian
Matthew Spencer
4 May 2017

The owners of a wind farm near Canberra are being sued for sparking a catastrophic bushfire in January, in what is believed to be the first…

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Wind turbines are neither clean nor green and they provide zero global energy

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Matt Ridley | The Spectator

The Global Wind Energy Council recently released its latest report, excitedly boasting that ‘the proliferation of wind energy into the global power market continues at a furious pace, after it was revealed that more than 54 gigawatts of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market last year’.

You may have got the impression from announcements like that, and from the obligatory pictures of wind turbines in any BBC story or airport advert about energy, that wind power is making a big contribution to world energy today. You would be wrong. Its contribution is still, after decades — nay centuries — of development, trivial to the point of irrelevance.

Here’s a quiz; no conferring. To the nearest whole number, what percentage of the world’s energy consumption was supplied by wind power in 2014, the last year for which there are reliable figures? Was it 20 per cent, 10 per cent or 5 per cent? None of the above: it was 0 per cent. That is to say, to the nearest whole number, there is still no wind power on Earth.

Even put together, wind and photovoltaic solar are supplying less than 1 per cent of global energy demand. From the International Energy Agency’s 2016 Key Renewables Trends, we can see that wind provided 0.46 per cent of global energy consumption in 2014, and solar and tide combined provided 0.35 per cent. Remember this is total energy, not just electricity, which is less than a fifth of all final energy, the rest being the solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels that do the heavy lifting for heat, transport and industry.

Such numbers are not hard to find, but they don’t figure prominently in reports on energy derived from the unreliables lobby (solar and wind). Their trick is to hide behind the statement that close to 14 per cent of the world’s energy is renewable, with the implication that this is wind and solar. In fact the vast majority — three quarters — is biomass (mainly wood), and a very large part of that is ‘traditional biomass’; sticks and logs and dung burned by the poor in their homes to cook with. Those people need that energy, but they pay a big price in health problems caused by smoke inhalation.

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My Enemy Flicker: Neighbour’s Video Depicts Misery of Life in Wind Turbine’s Pulsing Shadow

STOP THESE THINGS

For those unfortunates forced to live cheek-by-jowl with these things, it isn’t just incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound that drives neighbours nuts.

At sunrise or sunset, those with turbines on their doorstep find shadow flicker – the pulsing beams of light that compete with rolling darkness inside their homes – is just another source of irritation to be suffered at the hands of an industry utterly devoid of human compassion or decency. The piece below tells the story of the video above.

Dashwood couple’s problem with shadow flicker raises ire
Chatham Daily News
Lynda Hillman-Rapley
5 May 2017

Matt Metzgar’s video has gone viral.

Filmed April 28 and then uploaded, the video of the shadow flicker his parents live with at their RR 1, Dashwood home has been viewed over 44,000 times and has been shared 740 times.

Metzgar filmed and then shared the video to draw attention…

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Top Sleep Specialist Slams ‘Nocebo’ Nonsense: Wind Turbine Noise Obvious Cause of Sleep Deprivation

STOP THESE THINGS

Dr Wayne Spring is a sleep specialist with a lifetime’s experience of dealing with those suffering from sleep deprivation from all manner of causes. Recently, Dr Spring went into print, slamming those from the wind-cult who spend their time deriding the wind industry’s victims, rather than listening.

One of its victims, who will never be silenced, is STT Champion, Annie Gardner who let rip in the Hamilton Spectator with this thumping letter to the editor, picking up Dr Spring’s sharpest points along the way.

WIND TURBINE IMPACTS ECHO SEASICKNESS
Hamilton Spectator
29 April 2017

IT’S most important that Dr Wayne Spring’s willingness to expose his experience of treating many wind farm victims, referred to him for sleep deprivation, is released to the people in your readership area, particularly as so many will become exposed to the same problems particularly around Macarthur and Oaklands Hill. Below are excerpts from Dr Wayne…

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New Book from Danish Journalist Peter Skeel Hjorth

New book documents the wind turbine industry’s abuse of power:

A HIDDEN POWER

From the media press release:

“Wind turbines are not noisy! We hear it again and again from both the wind turbine industry and the politicians. But why then are there people that suffer because of the noise? And why was a professor at Aalborg University fired, and his apparatus to gauge wind turbine noise confiscated?

Professor Henrik Møller is an expert in sound. He has invented an apparatus that can gauge low frequency noise from wind turbines inside a house in a very simple way. And ready to lend to people that feel that the wind turbines in their vicinity are noisy. Finally providing a way to get a clear picture!

But Aalborg University has fired Henrik Møller and his apparatus is not being used. In En skjult magt (in English: A Hidden Power) prize winning journalist Peter Skeel Hjorth shows how the Danish universities, authorities and politicians are bullied by the wind turbine industry. The book also shows how the municipalities especially are subjected to an extreme – and unlawful – pressure from the wind turbine industry.”

See full press release here: En skjult magt – A Hidden Power (PDF)

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