Saturday, 10 September 2011

Straid wind farm # 3

Well, the ecotricity Straid wind farm exhibitions came and went - rather fast. 2 exhibitions lasting just 4 hours each in Lendalfoot Community hall and then Colmonell community hall. That's it. What now? I guess time will tell.

As is common practice in the wind farm industry, the photomontages were presented in letterbox format. Why oh why does the industry keep on doing this (I wonder)? This is not how I see the world and I'm sure I'm not alone in this. Are we ever going to see accurate pictorial representations in such exhibitions? If you take a picture and attack it with a pair of scissors - lopping off the top, bottom and both sides, you will lose the overall perspective - try it and see (and I immediately apologise for the destruction of your picture). It is also worth remembering that the photomontages were generated for visibility assessment from very specific vantage points and did not represent how the proposed development will look as you drive or walk along the Lendalfoot bay. It was also noted that the background sky in the photomontages was dull white - can't imagine why. I assume that Lendalfoot never has blue skies....

So, as a community, does Lendalfoot feel 'consulted'? Does it feel informed - or just lectured to? For example, were the community informed that the proposed development lies within a 'Sensitive Landscape Character Area' (as defined by the Ayrshire Joint Structure plan) and what that means? Or that a SSSI (Pinbain Burn to Carin Hill) lies immediately adjacent and to the north of the proposed development, why that particular piece of land has such a status and what steps would be taken to prevent damage to it?

Anyone who has driven past Straid Farm will attest to the flocks of birds that surround it on a very regular basis - not an uncommon view for a land-fill site. Now, these birds may be regarded as scavengers (and I regard them as such), but they have as much as right to their lives as humans do. How many of these hapless creatures have to be slaughtered by the rotating blades of up to 16 turbines over a 20-30 year period to satisfy the objectives of ecotricity and the land owner? In January 2009, one of ecotricity's turbine's was damaged by an unidentified object. One of the three blades was reportedly never found. Given the proximity to the A77 and neighbouring properties, one wonders what would have happened if this had been Straid. Come on ecotricity, accept it - this is the wrong development in the wrong place.

The Carrick Gazette published a summary article of the exhibitions, on Wednesday September 7th 2011. Reading the article, it is interesting to note that if ecotricity submit an application and it is approved it 'won't be submitting another application'. Great, just 16 turbines then? Oh hang on, the article goes on to quote Mike Cheshire of ecotricity as saying "In fact, we may reduce the number of turbines if we have to". Ohh - that's considerate of you.

So, what are ecotricity like as a company? I don't know, but they do have some history. In February 2010, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint about ecotricity's direct marketing of a proposed wind farm in the Cotswolds. Here is a quick summary, and the full ASA ruling. You may also like to review the text of one of their web pages regarding Fen Farm in Licolnshire. Notice the text: 'took several planning applications and appeals' in the fourth paragraph; I think this proposed development will turn out to be an interesting battle.