Sunday, 16 October 2011

Dumfries & Galloway # 1

One of the things I have been wanting to do is to highlight the issues faced by areas that surround (and therefore butt up) against my main area of focus, since they form part of the bigger picture for the area. To this end this post is about Dumfries and Galloway and more specifically, the Stewarton area. Most of the information in this post comes from the diligent and immensely hard working people at Turbine Watch 312 (who have a permanent link in my side bar) - and all the credit for trying to keep a handle on what is going on there goes to them. In the future I will do a monthly post with an update for this area, which will coincide with the release of the monthly Turbine Watch 312 newsletter.

I thought South Carrick had a problem but boy, poor old Dumfries and Galloway are in a serious pickle. According to the latest update from Turbine Watch 312, there are currently over 800 turbines in excess of 50 metres working their way through the planning system for Dumfries and Galloway as a whole. To give you an idea what they face, have a look at their map (it may take a little while to load):

View Larger Map

To form this map, I took a snapshot of the existing map as I wanted to show the 'complete' picture. The data remains the work of the original author(s) - I have simply consolidated the individual map pages. Since this is essentially a snapshot of the map as it was on Saturday October 15 2011, it will not be updated. However, the original map (that is updated regularly - not by me I hasten to add) can be found here. There are a total of 273 turbines on this map.

The gaggle of turbines just west of the A74(M) is Harestanes, a consented 71 turbine Scottish Power Renewables development. There is now a proposal to extend this by a further 19 turbines (not plotted on this map).

In 2008, the Scottish Government published a study on the economic impacts of wind farms on tourism. Although there is a permanent link to this report in the right hand sidebar of this blog, the two relevent sections are here (Dumfries and Galloway specific) and here (Conclusions). This report is desperately out of date; the situation in Dumfries and Galloway that it uses (in part) for the basis of its conclusions has moved on considerably. Indeed, even in 2008, the report notes that: Looking at Figure 11-5 it is difficult to identify any routes in Dumfries and Galloway where, at some stage, holidaymakers will not been exposed to wind farms. This perception is re-inforced by table 11.5.1 which gives the length of exposed road by road number. Over 237km of road in Dumfries and Galloway will see at least four turbines at a distance of 15km or less (Section 11.5 para 4 refers). Looking at the map above, I would say that that statement is now woefully out of date.

The latest (October 2011) newsletter from Turbine Watch 312 is here. I have also included a drop down selector box containing links to their previous newsletter editions at the bottom of the right hand side bar of this blog (under More Reading Material). At the back of the current newsletter is a summary of the planning applications for the Stewartry area. I have deliberately not referenced the material in that summary as I would really like you to read the newsletter - if you haven't already!

Turbine Watch 312 maintain an extensive library and news service, and if you haven't already, I encourage you to visit them on a regular basis to get the current situation in their part of the world.