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April 05, 2013

Winding Up: Scotland's Anti-wind Farm Group Speaks Out



Many in Scotland are rallying against wind farms, arguing that they are more than an eyesore. Campaigners argue that the farms, which consist of a number wind turbines in single locale to produce electrical power, would mean “further industrialization” for Scottish land.

Anti-wind farming groups are skeptical of a recent declaration by First Minister, Alex Salmond, to support “turbine free” areas, as it represents quite a change of tune. Until now, Almond has embraced the technology, claiming that wind farms do not damage the landscape or detract from tourism. To hear him suddenly concerned for the mountain scenery of Scotland is raising eyebrows.

Scotland Agains Spin (SAS (News - Alert)), one such anti-wind group, says that Salmond's proposal only considers 28-percent of the countryside as “wild land” - mainly located in the Highlands. SAS feels that 72-percent of Scotland is left grossly unprotected. 

Linda Holt, a spokesperson for SAS urged Salmond to heed the group's cries.

“If things are going to change, we would also like to see the guideline that suggests wind turbines should be at least 2km from homes being made mandatory. At the moment that guideline is routinely trampled over,” Holt says.

Another anti-wind group, Stop Highland Wind farms Campaign, urged that the mapping plan currently drawn up by Scottish Natural Heritage needs to be more robust and transparent, as well as speak to the concerns of local communities.

Others, like David Gibson, chief officer of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, suggest that to have Scottish government listening at all to anti-wind campaigns is mostly good news for the groups, though not exactly what they want to hear. 

“My reaction to the latest news is that the devil is in the detail,” Gibson says, adding, “cut if this is evidence of the Scottish Government listening, then that is encouraging.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said it was committed to wind farms located onshore that give the “right level of protection to important landscapes.”

What remains controversial is what the “right level” of protection is, and what qualifies a region as “important” enough to be spared the turbines.




Edited by Brooke Neuman

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