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Where it all began

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

When the Scoop Hill Wind Farm project was first announced there was very little coverage. On Wednesday, 24th July 2019 Community Windpower Ltd. (CWL), staged a daytime exhibition in Moffat but it was very poorly attended. When the scale of the project came to light, three neighbouring residents in Moffat Water valley became concerned about its scale and possible impact on the area and its residents. On talking with others, they discovered very few people in Moffat had any idea of what was proposed.

This prompted them to approach the Moffat and District Community Council (MDCC) requesting that they ask Community Windpower Ltd. to hold an evening meeting in Moffat fully explaining the project and allowing the public to ask questions. For internal reasons within the Community Council there were delays in taking action but when the new committee was elected in October, a suggestion was made that the Valley residents should be allowed to voice their concerns at the November MDCC meeting and this was done as part of the normal meeting on Tuesday, 26th Nov 2019. No public meeting along the lines suggested resulted. The informal group of concerned residents continued to disseminate information as best they could.

On 25th February 2020, MDCC met for its normal monthly meeting in the Town Hall. MDCC had invited CWL to attend the meeting, which started earlier than usual to give time for the presentation prior to the normal business. It is estimated 40 – 50 members of the public were present. CWL showed a PowerPoint Presentation and then invited questions.

One member of the public put a question. Then Mr Terence Leigh made the following statement:

“I have one question for CWL and one for the Community Council

Scotland has 4000 turbines in operation. A further 3000 turbines are planned . That is the equivalent of ONE turbine every 2.85 miles across entire land mass of Scotland. The south west of Scotland is already one of the most densely covered areas in the UK.

It is Scottish government policy to use wind energy as their power source of choice. They are following this policy with ferocious zeal and considerable success but it has not come without cost, both to the environment and people.

Many feel that we have reached a level at which further projects are now unduly detrimental to communities, businesses and the environment.

There are many alternative sources of energy existing already and many new sources in late stages of development which are less intrusive visually, less demanding of natural resources, less harmful to the environment and promise to be equally or more efficient than wind turbines.

So I ask: “Do we need yet another wind farm is this already congested area?” Scoop Hill is advertised to be the 2nd largest wind farm in the UK. It is on an industrial scale.

I have no axe to grind with CWL; they are a private company based in England who have seen opportunities to make money in Scotland that didn’t exist in England. Can’t blame them for that but I think we should be clear they are not here out of altruism. They are here to make money not to do us a favour.

They know that there are very few pluses attached to this wind farm, either for local residents or for the environment.

They know too, as we do , that it will have an adverse effect :-

· On visual amenity

· On tourism

· Cause noise pollution with health implications

· Produce light pollution from navigation lights in a ‘dark sky’ area,

· Create blade flicker on sunny days

· Have an adverse impact on wildlife and the environment

They know too that they will be dumping 2000 tons of concrete underground for every turbine erected and 200 tons of steel and composites for every tower and set of blades erected.

There will be new roads.

Disruption to village life during construction and decommissioning .

Unknown consequences to local weather conditions

To deal with these undesirable aspects of the project, CWL had to come up with a sweetener. As I understand it, it is standard practice and required of them in order to get the go ahead on a project. They are obliged to demonstrate their appreciation for the forbearance of the local inhabitants by donating a significant sum of money to fund community projects . This is not a generous gift from the company, but a requirement, and is actually reflected in the price each of us has to pay for our energy.

It is a good marketing ploy and generally works. Money talks; and all the ethical considerations and the downsides of the projects are often forgotten.

So my question to you tonight sir is a personal one:- You have seen the unspoiled hills and glens around you, the same today as they were since time began, the very essence of Scotland, her heritage, her Crown jewels and priceless asset; are you happy to be remembered as the man responsible for bringing this state of affairs to an end, for scarring the hillsides with 600 ft high man-made steel towers, and sinking 160000 tons of concrete into the planet’s soft earth?

And my question to our Community Council is this: will you please be mindful of the community’s feelings and your own innate integrity and ethical nature before being beguiled by the thirty pieces of silver for a community project -which incidentally each and every one of us has contributed to?

As I understand it, no clear answer was given to either question. Shortly after, the pre-meeting came to an end (some 40 minutes in all) and the normal MDCC monthly meeting commenced.


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