Sunday, 27 November 2011

Stepping up a gear

On Thursday December 1st 2011 at 5PM, the following motion will be debated by MSPs at Holyrood:

Community Benefit and the Cumulative Impact of Windfarm Developments in Communities (Lothian):
That the Parliament notes the contribution that renewable energy plays and will play in providing for Scotland and the UK’s energy needs; recognises that the Scottish Government’s route map for renewable energy sets a target of 100% of electricity demand equivalent from renewables by 2020; notes concerns about the ability of communities, such as Harburn in West Lothian and other communities across the southern border of West Lothian, to resist overconcentration and raise the issue of cumulative development in specific locations; expresses concern at the lack of genuine community and cooperative ownership and the increasing role of multinationals and venture capital firms in securing the profits from onshore wind projects, and would welcome a wider community benefit and lower cumulative impact  of windfarm developments in communities.

The motion has been tabled by Neil Findlay, and has support from the following MSPs: Graeme Pearson, Anne McTaggart, John Park, Claudia Beamish, Jackie Baillie, Hugh Henry, Elaine Murray, Kezia Dugdale, Margo MacDonald, Mary Scanlon

This to my knowledge is the first time that anything surrounding wind farms has been openly debated within the chambers of Holyrood. Communities Against Turbines Scotland (CATS) are encouraging as many people as possible to attend, both in the public gallery and before and after the debate outside the parliament building. Tickets for the public gallery can be rquested from this web page. Just be sure to select the 4PM-6PM time slot. If you experience difficulty getting tickets, you may like to approach your MSP to see if he or she can secure some for you.

If you cannot attend the debate, it is hoped that a live video stream via Parliament TV will be available from here, or that a recording of the event will be available here.

Just what twists and turns will occur during the debate is anybody's guess, but in many ways this debate probably marks the start of a more open discussion about the issues faced with regard to the proliferation of wind turbines. Whilst visitors in the public gallery have to sit still and keep quiet (!), I imagine that whatever is said by participants on either side will be quite enlightening.