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Monday, 16 February 2015

Scotland’s fabulous north west is about to be destroyed: Caplich Windfarm

My father died in a Sue Ryder Hospice. His care was magnificent and the staff at Sue Ryder ensured he had a comfortable and dignified death. The following year I walked a circuitous Land’s End to John o’ Groats to raise funds for the hospice. It was a 2,700km walk; a walk I’ll never forget.

LEJOG ROUTE

As I walked north the land became less populated, wilder and the scenery just got better and better. On the walk I mentioned this to Ian Shiel in a pub in Blair Atholl. He looked me in the eye and said

“You’ve seen nothing yet; wait until you get to the far north.”

At the time I thought I knew the Highlands fairly well, and said something to the effect that in my dozen crossings of Scotland I had experienced land as close to heaven as you could possibly get.

“Al,” Ian said, “That’s nothing compared to the far north.” 

And he was right.

The far north west of Scotland was forged in primordial times. The rocks are the oldest on the planet. The landscape was nothing I had ever experienced before. Here are just a few pictures to give you a flavour of the place:

 Incomparable Gleann a Chadha Dheirg

GLEANN A CHADHA DHEIRG: CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

Turn around and Caplich windfarm is right behind you!

TURN AROUND: CAPLICH WINDFARM IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU! CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

323c39674455ffbd4be203ebef3a6f68

THE SAME VIEW AS ABOVE, BUT IN BETTER WEATHER: NICKED FROM THE CAPE WRATH TRAIL WEBSITE

 

306 Suilven from the north

SUILVEN: CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

Glencoul Thrust

GLENCOUL THRUST: CLICK TO ENLARGE

I was using the Cape Wrath Trail as my route to the far north western point of Scotland. It is a popular route for experienced backpackers and has recently been incorporated into Scotland’s new End to End walk: The Scottish National Trail. 

It is magnificent country. Fabulous. Jaw-droppingly beautiful. But now, a wind farm has been put in for planning, slap bang in the middle of it: Caplich windfarm.

***

Please excuse the lengthy preamble to get you to this horrendous news but I wanted, no, needed you to know what is at stake here. Let’s cut to the chase and see what’s proposed and how it will affect these magnificent landscapes. You know the drill by now: First, let’s look at where it is:

Layout:1

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Next: What other wind farms are round about, so we can see what the cumulative effects might be:

Cut-down Highland Windfarm Map June 2014

CUT-DOWN HIGHLAND COUNCIL WINDFARM MAP: JUNE 2014 – CLICK TO ENLARGE

You’ll notice that Loch Shin is to be surrounded by Very Large Windfarms, and the capitals are very important here. And next, we look at the Zone of Theoretical Visibility Map – The ZTV of the wind farm:

Recreational Routes

RECREATIONAL ROUTES & ZTV MAP OF CAPLICH WINDFARM: CLICK TO ENLARGE

Now the above map is important. I want you to click on it. It will open up much larger, in a new window, so I won’t lose you.

The red dotted line is the Cape Wrath Trail / Scottish National Trail. You will notice that it passes barely a mile from the Caplich Windfarm. Now I want you to scroll back up to the very colourful picture that I nicked from the Cape Wrath Trail website.

Here it is again. I’m a saint, really I am; I make this so easy for you…

323c39674455ffbd4be203ebef3a6f68

CLICK TO ENLARGE: NICKED FROM THE CAPE WRATH TRAIL WEBSITE

The wind farm will be immediately behind from where the above picture is taken. Do you see that big dark peak on the far right? That’s Eagle Rock. The next picture is the view from Eagle Rock to the wind farm:

View from Eagle Rock

PHOTOMONTAGE OF THE CAPLICH WINDFARM FROM EAGLE ROCK: CLICK TO ENLARGE

The next map is a real shocker:

Caplich wind farm ZTV in association with surrounding windfarms' ZTVs

CAPLICH WINDFARM ZTV IN ASSOCIATION WITH SURROUNDING WIND FARM ZTVs: CLICK TO ENLARGE 

Take some time over this map. Again, please click on it to blow it up in a new window. Ta.

What this map shows is that on top of all the other ZTVs of all the other windfarms, the Caplich windfarm’s visual presence (the green and yellow colours on the map) stretches into the very heart of Assynt. Assynt; the jewel in the crown of the far north west of Scotland. The Crown Jewels. Gnarly old Mountaineers weep at the beauty and magnificence of Assynt.

 

And now, some greedy, money-grubbing bastard of a landowner, who will probably benefit to the tune of some £15million, is going to stick TWENTY turbines 132m TALL (that’s 433 Imperial Feet) to trash it.

EDIT: 4:00pm Monday 16th February:

You can make your objection known by adding a note of objection on the relevant page of the Highland Council Planning Website. The objections ARE important. Please spare the time to do this. I’ll make it really easy for you:

Click HERE

Read a few of the objections to get a feel of what to say and then just click on the “Make a Comment” tab and get objecting! Thank you. This really is very important!

Could you let me know how you got on? Ta.

***

You can see James Boulter’s excellent thoughts on this by clicking on the link below:

The fall of Assynt – Caplich Wind farm.

104 comments:

  1. Considering the proximity to the Scottish National Trail, I'll be expecting a former editor of TGO to be all over this one and in a very public way.

    That's a serious observation, by the way; not a dig. Cameron really should be using his profile to raise awareness, bearing in mind his personal involvement with the trail...

    http://cameronmcneish.wix.com/cameronmcneish

    ReplyDelete
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    1. McNeish has blocked me on twitter for taking him to task for his complete lack of trustworthiness on campaigning against wind farms. He's one of those that say they are fine "in the right places" and actively supports the SNP's (he's a very active SNP supporter) energy policy.

      He makes all the right sounding noises (as and when it suits him) and does absolutely bugger all about it. McNeish is on very good terms with Salmond (he got him to open his Scottish National Trail, presumably for not railing against wind farms when he shared a platform with him in Edinburgh) and has a very visible profile in Scotland, presenting the Outdoors Show, and if he could muster up an ounce of decency his voice might carry some weight.

      But no. When given the opportunity to make a difference when it counted, he cut the already published version of his speech to remove all criticism of SNP wind policy.

      It's my opinion that you're raising false hopes expecting McNeish to be a front-man attacking the SNP wind energy policy. He's firmly up the backside of whoever is running the SNP at the time.

      Delete
    2. McNeish is an utter disgrace and I agree with everything you say Alan. His TV series The Pilgrim's Trail covered, in one programme, Glen Affric to Tarbat Ness. It was the only one I watched as I live near Affric and because he makes me shout at the TV! The camera work was creative with bits missed out so no turbines were shown. He was raving about the beauty of the area yet Kilmorack / Strathglass is where ABO Wind want to put up 25 turbines. I wonder if he will speak out against that when the application goes in. I won't hold my breath - but I will ask him!

      Delete
  2. Pinned post on our facebook page today, Alan. Your writing, photos of our wonderful scenery Before Wind Farms and the trash maps bring home to people exactly what is being lost

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    Replies
    1. Thank you W.E.A.
      We need as many objections and publicity as possible!
      :-)

      Delete
  3. Just can't keep up with all this. Depressing, shocking and making us so angry but we are a tiny voice in the scheme of things. The politicians care about the urban vote not us. Too few and too scattered for them to care. Brace yourself for the new Highland Council wind farm map. Due out soon - apparently. In the absence of SNH's and Scottish government's updates this will be the killer. I have already started the PR because I just know it will be horrific. Thank you for all you do Alan to highlight the struggle that we have here. So many people are working so hard for no reward other than the hope they will help stop this insanity. We are trying to make a difference in the face of an arrogant, dismissive government and industry. With 'environmental' groups and the powerful, well funded green lobby against us and whispering in the ears of clueless politicians we have a huge task and public awareness is paramount to us succeeding against the odds - so thank you again.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi Lyndsey. The Highland Council map is already two months overdue.
      It will not be good news, for sure.
      :-(
      I'm amazed at your group's tenacity in the fight against the turbines. It must be virtually a full time job, and the most depressing thing is that you first have to convert the folk who have swallowed the green spin. However, I've found that once people understand that it's a scam, they come onboard with great zeal! People hate it when they've been conned. It makes them very angry!
      Keep up the fantastic work you're doing!
      x

      Delete
    2. Thanks Alan. It IS a full time job. Not easy to put it down and have a break because the game constantly changes and you have to keep in the loop and be ready to respond publicly whenever you get the chance. Making the public aware of how they are being fleeced economically and in terms of the environment is paramount to succeeding against this monster. Wind developers are no better than the unscrupulous bankers IMO - they twist and turn to get what they want and have no compassion for us or the land and wildlife they destroy. Unfortunately they are aided and abetted by our clueless politicians. The good thing is that their PR, on the whole, is crap and we have learned how to expose their many failings to our great advantage!

      Delete
  4. I do not really blame the landowners. I blame the people who made the policy to give huge subsidies to build these useless piles of high tech junk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes they are to blame of course. I do blame the landowners though as well. Many are already richer than we could ever be - even in our dreams - yet they are happy to burden all of society by getting them to pay for their spoils. They are custodians of something special and they should be protecting it not destroying it. We have a culture established of subsidy hunting be it for this or anything else they can claim for. Some see the land they own / have inherited as their exclusive playground to do with as they will regardless of the destruction wind farms wreak on the landscape, habitat and wildlife. We should remember that while the subsidies have driven this parasitic industry the Scottish government have full devolved planning powers. They could stop this today if they so wished.

      Delete
    2. Interesting, isn't it Lyndsey, how differently the ones dipping their snouts so shamelessly into the subsidy trough are portrayed, when compared to those on disability or unemployment benefits.

      Nothing illegal about it of course; just not quite the same level of scrutiny and demonising.

      Delete
    3. Hi David.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      There are many landowners in Scotland (I won't use the term "Scottish Landowners") who do have morals, who do have scruples and who fight against wind farm development. Yes, the subsidies are there for the taking, put in place by incredibly stupid politicians who believe the green NGOs bullshit.
      Any politician who disagrees with it are shown the door - you need only to look at Owen Paterson as an example.

      Delete
    4. Hi Dave. An excellent point, well made, Sir.

      Delete
  5. Scotland is being transformed into Mordor. The politicians from the Central Belt couldn't give a stuff about the natural beauty of the Highlands. Alex Salmond is the new Sauron. The Great Eye, or more accurately, The Great Belly. Scottish National Trail? Shows how much they care about that one. Perhaps GoreTex should withdraw its sponsorship.

    I see all the major political parties are signing up to more "green" madness. The destruction will go on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have yet to speak to anyone with any hope of getting elected who will stand against this. They follow the propaganda - to their eternal shame.

      Delete
    2. Sadly, I agree Robin.
      But wind farms are being refused, and the subsidy cap should discourage wind farm carpet-baggers. Of course the risk is they'll still build them and we'll be left with thousands of broken down turbines littering the landscapes as they will be uneconomic to repair. And they do break down with incredible regularity.

      Delete
    3. This is a major problem, Lyndsey, the way prospective MPs and MSPs are selected means that few have economically literate backgrounds. Most are young PPE grads (with a tiny emphasis on the 'E') who have squirmed up the greasy pole as researchers and the like for Ministers working for sod-all.
      :-(
      They're all arse-lickers.

      Delete
    4. They don't understand - do they want to or can't they? Rhoda Grant Labour MSP, former shadow energy spokesperson (God help us) has said on live radio: Wind farms will stop climate change (not help to but will actually do the job). Patrick Harvie, leader of Scottish Green Party, said last week (to my face) that he wouldn't want to discourage multinational developers and we need lots more onshore wind turbines. How many have we got now and in the planning system Patrick? Errrrr...no idea. No he hasn't and even more worrying is Fergus Ewing, energy minister, doesn't know either. What a bloody shower.

      Delete
  6. Alan. Thank you. I am lucky enough to live here. I have such a connection to this land that it really does feel like part of my very 'soul'. I will be doing all I can to stop this but it pains me to discover how many local people seem to not give a sh*t. I can feel part of me crying out and dying. Thank you for your help. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Stewart and welcome to the blog.
      Thank you for your comment. It must be desperate to live within such an amazing landscape with neighbours who don't give a stuff about it. Shift them down to a tower block in Tower Hamlets for a few weeks, and then re-settle them back to their homes. Perhaps then they will appreciate what is at risk here.
      :-(

      Delete
    2. That's very true Stewart. Many just think it is hopeless to fight. With one of the biggest crimes against the environment, the Beauly to Denny upgrade and Balblair substation, pushed through as a 'done deal' with a farce of a PLI they think they have no chance against the government. Well possibly but if they say that to me I tell them. 'If you do nothing you will get a wind farm. If you fight as hard as you can you might not.' I know how you feel too. Every time I drive out anywhere I see the B2D and it makes be feel sick to look at it. The massive pylons and thick glistening transmission lines strung across the skyline. What a mess and a disgrace.

      Delete
    3. Hi Stewart, I don't live in Assynt but visit friends who do - and I find them almost entirely passive on this issue. I don't quite know why they are sitting on their hands but they are unwilling to fight. I have so much love for Scotland's hills and wild places that I, too, can feel a large part of me crying in deepest anguish over this and other developments. It's not too much to say that it has blighted my life and poisoned my peace of mind. Where else to go for a true spiritual connection to our world?

      Delete
    4. Community Council Meeting with Muirhell rep present tonight, will try to remain calm! I put the word out on my Facebook page - Assynt Fly Fishing - and it tells me that it has had a 'reach' of close to 8,000 in just a couple of days! Very pleased, lots of objections. Trying to get my head together on key points for tonight's meeting.

      Delete
  7. Your heartfelt comment, Stewart, echoes sentiments from Shetland last week. I can only think that some people have no soul.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed, Mary.
      There are consequences when taking the carpet-baggers' bribes - the destruction of all you hold dear - your community and your landscape.

      Delete
  8. Thanks for highlighting the issue so eloquently and persuasively Alan. Objection made.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Paul. Please award yourself a shiny gold star!
      Not long now to the Challenge, Sir!
      :-)

      Delete
  9. Objection made. Keep fighting Lyndsey and I'll keep objecting. Thanks Alan for bringing it to our attention.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. What an absolutely magnificent user name.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Beryl - I intend to for as long as it takes. The trolls are coming out to attack us now - we must be doing a good job! :)

      Delete
  10. Done, I've said my piece and got it off my chest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, JJ.
      I'll award you your shiny star in the pub!
      :-)

      Delete
  11. The wind farm developer, in his own statement, "Chapter Five: Socio-Economics, Tourism and Recreation" recognises that tourism is massively important to the local area. The statment says:

    "The largest source of private sector employment in the four data zones that most closely match the local study area is the provision of accommodation and food services. This sector accounts for approximately a third of those in employment, more than double the Highland average of 12.4%, and more than triple the Scottish average of 7.8%. This sector is an important part of the tourism sector and would therefore suggest that tourism is important for the Local Area"

    Surely, for this reason alone, this wind farm application should be chucked out!

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    1. Again, from the same document, this evidence is compelling enough (especially when considering that this local area relies on tourism three times more than Highland in general:

      5.3.2.2 Tourism Value and Volume

      Sustainable tourism is one of seven growth sectors identified in the Scottish Government’s Economic Strategy. Data from the BRES shows that in 2012, sustainable tourism, as defined by the Scottish Government, accounted for approximately 12.8% of employment in Highland. This is significantly higher than the proportion of tourism related employment across Scotland as a whole (7.5%).

      According to the Scottish Government there were almost 1,250 registered tourism enterprises in Highland in 2011. This represents around 13% of all registered enterprises in the Highlands. The total turnover of these enterprises in 2011 (latest available figures) was estimated at £410 million and their contribution to Scottish Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2011 (latest available figures) was estimated at almost £200 million. This represents approximately 8% of the total GVA of Highland.

      VisitScotland estimate that 1.88 million people from the rest of the UK and almost 0.4 million people from overseas visited the Highlands in 201213. These visitors spent a combined total of £509 million.

      5.3.2.3 Reasons for Visiting

      VisitScotland commissioned a national visitor survey that was undertaken during 2011 and 2012. Regional results for the Highlands show that by far the most important reason for visiting the Highlands, as mentioned by 57% of visitors, was the scenery and landscape. Other important reasons included the history of the area (mentioned by 23% of visitors), a recommendation (mentioned by 22%), to visit a particular attraction (20%) or because they had been to the area before (20%). The visitor survey also includes information about the types of activities visitors engage in while in an area. It shows that the most popular activities on visits to the Highlands were walking (mentioned by 54% of visitors) and sightseeing (51% of visitors). Taking a long walk (as opposed to a stroll) was mentioned by 41% of visitors. Visiting historic buildings and trying local food, were both also mentioned by 51% of visitors.

      Delete
    2. Perhaps one of the most outrageous quotes from the report is as follows:

      "Section 5.3.2.7 did however highlight a number of walking routes in the Local Area that may be used by tourists, particularly the unofficial long-distance Scottish National Trail. It is likely that this route is used by tourists but there is no evidence to suggest that such visitors would be deterred from using the route because of this. It is also important to note that many of the walkers using this route will be doing so in order to complete a long distance challenge. These visitors come to the area for the specific purpose of completing the challenge. As the presence of a wind farm along the route will have no impact on their ability to complete the challenge, it is therefore highly unlikely to affect their enjoyment of it."

      "it is therefore highly unlikely to affect their enjoyment of it."

      REALLY?????? Do you think we're stupid enough to believe this crap???

      Delete
    3. Highly unlikely to affect their enjoyment of it??? The author should read the public comments on the Highland Council website. Every one is negative and many say they would be less likely to visit the area if the wind farm was built. The impact on tourism would be devastating.

      Delete
  12. My Objection Letter:

    I strongly object to this application. Whilst there are strong ethical grounds to object to the redistribution of taxpayer's and Energy Consumer's (many of whom are not wealthy) and funds via subsidies to landowners there are a number of practical concerns that make this application unacceptable.

    1 - Visual Impact - this is an area of outstanding beauty where the siting of these turbines will diminish the wilderness landscape and the application is therefore contrary to current planning policy.
    2 - Environmental Damage - Damage to Peat Beds caused by Turbine foundations, access tracks and other supporting infrastructure - effectively destroying a key carbon sink meaning the turbines will contribute to rather than reduce global warming.
    3 - Loss/Injury to wildlife is a well documented consequence of these structures
    4 - The irreversability of the construction - the environmental assessments presented are predictive. If incorrect the damage cannot be undone.


    I wish I had thought to add that the Subsidy provided to Landowners was a second Highland Clearance as in effect poor energy consumers being fleeced to provide distorted incomes for the Rich.

    I am not even a socialist but I can spot a scam when I see one

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    Replies
    1. Alan, Thank you.
      A superb response.

      I've taken a quick look at the document's assessment of "carbon payback" and there are fundamental errors within it. I could spend hours explaining what they have (deliberately) done, but basically they have taken the best possible scenario for the energy they are replacing with that from their windfarm at the rate that is most advantageous to them as well. They have ignored some pretty fundamental pit-digs and totally ignored areas of peat that they are "floating" their access tracks on.
      In short it is not worth the paper it is written on. It is so bad it is in effect lies.

      Delete
    2. I submitted a FOI to SG asking whether certain things were included in the carbon savings calculations of wind farms. Foreign workers (the Germans spend huge amounts of money on the most expensive whiskies - allegedly), machinery and components, grid connection including pylons, transmission lines, poles, substations, decommissioning including the removal of turbines, miles of concrete access tracks and reinstatement of the land to its previous state (fat chance). None are included. I got some BS about these being 'embedded' emissions - ie the same would apply to any other form of energy power station - so that it would be wrong to include them for wind. When you consider the land mass alone that is destroyed by a wind factory and the pollution caused overseas during the mining and processing of the tonnes of rare earth minerals each turbine needs you see how fundamentally flawed - probably actionable - the calculations are. Every time I hear x thousand of tonnes of CO2 will be saved if we build a loathsome wind farm I nearly have a fit! The whole wind approval policy is built on a tissue of lies and misinformation. How I wish I was rich enough to challenge these claims through the courts.

      Delete
    3. Of course it is important for wind, because gas fired, nuclear and coal plants are not built on peat uplands.
      I've taken a good hard look at the calculator the developers use - and it ignores a whole swathes of emissions in the construction period and the preconstruction period as well. I had not thought of the decommissioning either. The final "payback period" is a total fabrication. The authors of the calculator should be questioned at the hearings by an analytical barrister. Their lies would then be shown up.

      Delete
    4. I wonder if they include all the acres of trees that are cut down for the wind farms too and calculate all the CO2 they would have used up in their lifetime or when replanted after harvesting? Good old fashioned coppicing is one way to make them use more. Maybe we need to find a friendly barrister who is as sick of the lies and destruction as we are. They no longer say we need turbines for energy security (wonder why) but they do quote these wild figures for emission savings that should be challenged. They come from the DECC - and funnily enough the Scottish government are quick to trumpet what Westminster says in this instance. When (I nearly said 'if') the whole thing goes belly up at least Holyrood can say it wasnae me!

      Delete
    5. Hi Alan, I've entered a public comment objecting, but I can't see it on their website yet. If it doesn't do so I'll go back tomorrow and repeat. I can't even find it to copy it to you.

      It's all heart-breaking.

      Delete
    6. Hi Jean.
      :-)
      Thank you for objecting. I see a few TGO Challengers have now objected, but still far too few in my opinion.
      :-(
      I see as of this morning that your comment has made it to the site. Like you, I'm horrified that the local community is not up in arms about this.

      Delete
    7. Thanks for sharing your objection, Alan (Callow) - I hope you don't mind but I plagiarised it to some extent in my objection which I have just lodged :-)

      Delete
  13. Alan,

    I have read your article and picked up on your statement:

    "And now, some greedy, money-grubbing bastard of a landowner, who will probably benefit to the tune of some £15million, is going to stick TWENTY turbines 132m TALL (that’s 433 Imperial Feet) to trash it."

    I am not sure whether you have ever met the land owner in question, or what experience you have in managing farming estates, but this comment is both personal and offensive. Please remove it.

    Thank you.

    Peter Marshall
    Project Manager for Caplich Wind Farm

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    Replies
    1. "Alan,

      I have read your article and picked up on your statement:

      "And now, some greedy, money-grubbing bastard of a landowner, who will probably benefit to the tune of some £15million, is going to stick TWENTY turbines 132m TALL (that’s 433 Imperial Feet) to trash it."

      I am not sure whether you have ever met the land owner in question, or what experience you have in managing farming estates, but this comment is both personal and offensive. Please remove it.

      Thank you.

      Peter Marshall
      Project Manager for Caplich Wind Farm"



      Hi Peter,
      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      I've copied and pasted your comment here as in the past whenever comments like this have appeared, the commenter usually comes back and deletes it. You will not have that luxury.

      No - I'm happy to say that I have not met the landowner in question. Your comment speaks volumes "or what experience you have in managing farming estates"

      You make it quite clear from this comment that the landowner IS is having this wind farm built for the money. NO pretence of "green" credentials at all. Just the money.

      My comment stands: The landowner is a money-grubbing bastard. If you believe the comment is personal and offensive I jolly well hope the landowner does too. Please point him or her to this post and let them make their own comment. I always publish all comments. It will be interesting to hear why they are willing to trash one of the most beautiful places in the world.

      If the landowner cannot afford to run the land as a 'farming estate' then they should sell up, take the not inconsiderable proceeds, and pass the estate on to someone who will steward the countryside in a more appropriate manner.

      Delete
    2. It takes a special kind of arrogance to think you can decide what someone should delete or retain on their blog.

      Delete
    3. The pretence that wind turbines are all about saving the planet has long since disappeared - apart from a few obligatory and soothing words in the ES. Landowners and developers are not desecrating our countryside out of the goodness of their hearts (if anyone of them has such an organ!), this whole scam is driven by money - pure and simple.

      Delete
    4. Here's the thing Peter; You infer from your comment that the landowner is hard-pressed to make a living from the estate. I would invite you to to take a few minutes to listen to other local businesses, i n the tourism sector, who are also having a hard time, but who employ a large proportion of the local population:

      Here's the first of a couple of fairly typical comments, found on the Highland Council website for Caplich windfarm:

      "Mr. Michael Timmis
      Comment submitted Mon 23 Feb 2015

      I am a Director and proprietor of the Oykel Bridge Hotel. The Hotel is the highest rated tourist accommodation facility in the area (Trip Advisor). The hotel is used by fishermen , walkers , motorists,cyclists and nature lovers visiting the beautiful and as yet unspoilt Strath Oykel and Assynt area. Considerable investment has been made to upgrade the hotel to a standard that the local community can be proud of and further investment is planned. However , it is currently only economic for the hotel to be open for six months of the year and the enterprise is barely profitable. This proposed wind farm would be disastrous for the Oykel Bridge Hotel . Numbers of visitors to the area would fall and if the hotel suffered a reduction of as few as 100 bed nights in a year it could fall into loss and this could ultimately lead to its closure with devastating consequences for local employment."


      Do you see that? If they lost just 100 bednights a year they would go out of business and the locals would all lose their jobs.
      Here's another:

      "Mr Richard Campbell
      Comment submitted Mon 23 Feb 2015

      As the owners of Scourie Hotel, we wish to strongly object to this proposal. We are a business based in Sutherland and a relatively big employer of local people in the area. Almost all of our guests are walkers and fishermen who come to enjoy the outstanding natural beauty of the region. Many of these people will spend some time during their stay with us either walking or fishing in the area around this proposed development. Due to the appalling siting and scale of this proposal it will be visible from miles around. We believe the potential impact on visitor numbers and therefore our business is significant, hence this objection. In addition we believe it is contrary to the current planning policies in place which are designed to protect such wild places."


      Do you get it yet, Peter?
      Your already well-off estate owner is going to destroy all these other businesses. Your estate owner is a greedy, money-grubbing SELFISH bastard.

      Delete
    5. Developers - and Project Managers - of wind farms must toughen up and expect comments like this; so must landowners. I'd say, firstly, if you can't stand the heat, stay right out of the kitchen and secondly, be very thankful that you don't live in Australia where a land-owner would be called far worse than a greedy money-grubbing bastard.

      Delete
    6. Like what Mary? Does Alan have profanity levels high enough to cope? :)

      Delete
    7. Mainly, Lyndsey, the number of adjectives they can manage to cram in before a noun such as 'bastard' - each one more hard-hitting than the one before, reaching a sort of crescendo. A little bit like Alan did here.....but more!! And no, I should think that his profanity levels are not set right for that at all :)

      Well, honest to goodness, wouldn't you think a Project Manager would have more to do - and a lot more sense - than to take to a blog demanding that a comment be removed!!?

      Delete
    8. I'm desperate to read Peter's response. I mean, what does he expect; compliance?

      *clicks 'notify me'*

      *waits*

       

      Delete
    9. I fear we might have a long wait...
      But let's hope that Peter reads all the comments and recognises that people are incredibly angry about his project. Perhaps he'll get a new job, doing something respectable and decent.

      Delete
  14. It takes a special type of ignorance to see a blog viewpoint as being more offensive than the erection of wind turbines the blog apposes. This is a case of a project manager who can no longer see the patently obvious through the fog of guff created by the schemes own consultants.

    It is quite obvious that the landowner does not have the right frame of mind to be managing such a unique area. A good land owners is a custodian, a title I certainly wouldn't bestow on this particular owner.

    I can only assume that anybody involved in such a scheme is now so welded into their site safety hat and day job that they no longer have the time to get out and appreciate these last remaining areas of beauty. I would love to say it is their loss, but it would be a crying shame if their loss turned out to be everybody's.

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    1. Well said, John: My sentiments exactly.
      :-(

      Delete
    2. Trouble is these project managers in my experience, and I've met a few, just don't get it or care or both. Whatever it is there is nothing more important to them than the money. In fact that is all that is important to them. The local people, their truly sustainable businesses, the environment, the wildlife etc etc - all means nothing and locals are often treated with contempt and disdain. A few 'beads for the natives' type bribes are waved about as though that will be compensation enough for the huge losses industrial turbines will bring them. The whole thing is beginning to unravel as more and more people research what is going on and see through the injustice of what has gone unchecked for too long. May it all end soon so many of us can get our lives back. How dare this industry and the complicit landowners treat good honest hard working folk this way.

      Delete
    3. Well said Lyndsey, and no doubt you speak for the vast majority of honest, fair-minded decent people. Unfortunately, however, The 'greedy bastards' who benefit from this scam have bought the support of the environMENTALIST INDUSTRY (WWF, FoE, Greenpeace) and the green Loons have infiltrated mainstream politics so that they all want to demonstrate their green credentials without thought for whether they are actually green or not....because that doesn't really matter to them.


      We have a scam of international proportions, the like of which the world has never before known, and they are all determined to benefit from it in whatever way they can before they are publically exposed.

      Seems pretty obvious that Mr Marshall is also an example of a greedy barsteward but I would add the word arrogant to his epithet.

      Keep up the good work Alan S. and 'nil carborundum illegitimae' as they say in Leith.

      Delete
  15. I find this application from the developer and the landowner both "personal and offensive" towards the people who love, respect and enjoy the area for it's natural beauty. So, perhaps Mr Marshall, the people he works for, and the landowner would like to withdraw their application? And pigs may fly!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Objection sent. It only takes five minutes and to be blunt anyone who claims to care about this area should be objecting not sitting on their backsides hoping others will fight for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed; can I just say though that, for some reason, mine didn't register first time. I could well have made a mistake (easily the most plausible explanation!) but it's worth checking that your objection is accepted and displayed.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, David.
      :-)
      I'm saddened to see how few walkers and backpackers have objected. Those that have objected are giving back something to the mountains and wild places that we all love. Those that don't object are becoming "takers" in my eyes.

      Delete
  17. Alan's label of landowners as 'money grubbing bastards' is entirely accurate. Owners are culpable and in the vast majority of cases, are already wealthy.

    What I find particularly hypocritical from the Scottish Govt is their energy policy that enriches a few, already wealthy people whilst at the same time they are proclaiming an 'equality agenda'. Sturgeon needs to get out of Glasgow sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Just done my objection and encouraged friends to do likewise. It is beyond comprehension that such a proposal could be accepted. This is magnificent, wild and beautiful land and no-one has any right to destroy it.
    I kept within the 4000 characters but my e-mail receipt says my comments will be truncated. We'll see. I have sent it by post too. Thanks Alan for keeping us all informed on this

    ReplyDelete
  19. https://walkwildscotland.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/caplich-wind-farm/

    The wee video will probably give the best representation I could ever give of how unspoilt the land is. And from the maps above, it seems that from the position I took the video, at least 6 turbines would be visible. Enough said, really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A great post to come back with, Grahame - and a fabulous video. It captures the place wonderfully.
      To make life easier for everyone Grahame's post and video can be found by clicking HERE

      Delete
  20. I always find project managers comments rather biased annoying and rather repugnant. After all being paid to run the installation project destroying the landscape hardly leads to a fair and subjective defence on their part.

    Anyway Alan wonderful defence of the place and good work. I shall go and object and see if it helps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Martin.
      If you could spread the word I would be very grateful, as yours is a very well-followed blog, Sir.
      :-)

      Delete
  21. Just by way of an update, my own objection is visible on the site now and many other comments have already been added subsequently - the vast majority (no exaggeration!) being against the proposal.

    A good few of the same names who have responded here have already added their respective voices to the comments on the highland.gov.uk/ website. I'll give Cameron Mcneish credit, when it's due - he's voiced his objection to this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was a little campaign on twitter to get Cameron to object. Happily it was successful, as for the majority of folk he is seen as an opinion former and influencer. I believe he will now be writing an article on Walk Highlands about it.
      We need this publicity.

      Delete
  22. Alan i whole heartedly appauld your stand against this wind farm and for backing up your views with hard facts to the project manager .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Chris.
      Now then - make my day and pen a few words and make that objection!
      Cheers!
      :-)

      Delete
  23. I live in Yorkshire and visit the Highlands regularly.
    I consider Assynt to be the most outstanding landscape of the Scottish Highlands.
    After seeing the way that the wind farms around Beattock utterly subdue the landscape, I am opposed to them no matter where.
    It has been said that manufacture of a turbine uses more energy than the turbine will ever produce. I wish I could know if this is true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bernard, and welcome to the blog.
      Thank you for commenting. I agree with you totally. Unfortunately your thoughts on turbines energy balance aren't true. However, the claim that wind farms reduce CO2 emissions is entirely false when they are built on peatlands.
      In fact, it could be argued that wind farms don't save any CO2 emissions wherever they are built, as the electricity generated by them is expensive, so energy intensive industrial processes are exported from the richer countries with wind turbines to the poorer countries that rely on coal generation. All we are doing is exporting our CO2 emissions and then importing the products.
      The whole wind industry is one monstrous scam.

      Delete
  24. As a fly fisherman, visiting Assynt area every year over the past five years for a week or two, the real attraction (the uniqueness) for me is walking and fishing in what is still as close as one can get, to a wilderness area in the UK. To spoil all this with wind farms that will litter this precious landscape is just iniquitous. It comes as close to a crime against humanity as ISIS destroying ancient art treasures. Shame on you for even thinking about this. I and the others I fish with will make our annual holiday elsewhere if this goes ahead. 14 years ago I visited the Shetlands and Orkneys sailing round the islands. In the Shetlands I was taken by a friend to see their massive Wind turbine working. It was a disgrace. I suggest anyone who thinks a wind turbine is even slightly okay has never stood near or beneath one when it is running. It was and always will be one of man's bad ideas and what is more, without subsidy, they are not economically viable. If this is to save the planet then we have all lost the plot. I object in the strongest possible terms. Richard Silberbauer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Richard, welcome to the blog, and thank you for leaving your thoughts.

      Not many people have got 'up close and personal' with wind farms - but those who have come away deeply dismayed.

      If you could write those thoughts on the Highland Council website it would help enormously. The link is at the end of the blog post.
      Thank you.

      Delete
  25. Finally got round to registering my objection. Highland Council website was very slow though - groaning under the outrage I hope :-)

    Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Stefan.
      It is an appallingly slow & clunky website, isn't it?
      :-)
      The numbers of objections are growing and what is interesting is the intensity of the objectors' comments. Quite rightly, people are genuinely angry about this proposal. Even supporters of wind generation think that this is a desperately poor choice location.

      Peter Marshall would be doing the landowner (and his employer) a huge favour by pointing this out and thus preventing a waste of taxpayers' money with an inquiry, by withdrawing the scheme straight away.

      Delete
    2. Indeed. Apathy and ignorance are the developers' best friends and it's good to see so many heartfelt objections. It's essentially no different to mining companies trashing the rainforest or oil companies drilling in pristine Arctic wilderness. A world-class landscape is being threatened by greedy destructive exploitation in pursuit of short-term profit. Once it's gone, it's gone. That we have such a landscape on these small populated islands should be a cause for joy and wonder. Not to mention the loss to communities and small businesses who rely on climbers, walkers, anglers, tourists etc. - proper business people, who work hard and in harmony with this beautiful land to provide a service and make ends meet rather than trashing it with a massive hosepipe of taxpayers' and energy consumers' cash.

      Delete
  26. Hi Alan

    We have been otherwise engaged but have now objected to this horrendous proposal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gibson.
      Shiny stars may now be worn with pride!
      :-)

      Delete
  27. The objections on this site to wind generation all seem to make no mention of alternative sources of electricity. The objections based on visual impact seem to be based on the idea that this is a pristine, untouched wilderness, rather than the totally manmade landscape that it is. Empty does not equal natural. In fact within close proximity to the sites are forestry plantations, fences, roads and power lines, all already man made items. It also inconviently has a local population who while enjoying some benefit from tourism cannot be described as thriving from it. In fact many of these communities are dying even with nothing being allowed to develop without the usual cry of "what about the tourists?" It is a long winter. The strength of the pound against the euro just now is also bound to hurt tourist numbers this season. The 2 year construction phase will bring employment and year round money to these communities. The company is offering the 5 surounding communities £100,000 each a year. Again no alternatives are offered from all the objectors. Tourism alone is not enough to sustain these communities. We need year round work to support young families in these areas. Not only do we need this scheme, but we need more. I am not a wind farm groupie but there is a definite lack of alternatives up here just now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PART 1
      At first glance, James, your comment sounds almost reasonable. But, of course, it is designed to be so. Let me take your points, one by one, and show how misinformed they are:

      Point 1) "The objections on this site to wind generation all seem to make no mention of alternative sources of electricity."
      Scotland (and the rest of the UK) do not need any wind farms at all! until two or three years ago, we had a perfectly adequate electricity generation network. Alec Salmond and Ed Miliband had other ideas. At the behest of the EU, they set about dismantling our thermal plants across the UK, and setting up financial incentives (Renewable Obligation Certificates) for wind farm developers to build wind power stations across the UK.. Of course, this meant hundreds and hundreds of miles of new power lines, as the new Wind power stations were not being built near the existing power stations (which were near the population centres).
      It also brought about the problem of reducing the safety margin of demand over generation to dangerous unity. Salmond went two steps further:: He first set scotland the target of 50% of all electricity generation from wind, and then a few years later increasing this target to 100% equivalent from wind.
      That is why we are building wind power stations. They are not required at all - they are being built because of a political decision, not one based on engineering principles.

      Given that the EU set the UK a "carbon reduction target" the most cost effective way of achieving this would be to build new nuclear plants, immediately adjacent to the existing nuclear plant.

      Point 2 "The objections based on visual impact seem to be based on the idea that this is a pristine, untouched wilderness, rather than the totally manmade landscape that it is. Empty does not equal natural. In fact within close proximity to the sites are forestry plantations, fences, roads and power lines, all already man made items."
      The power lines you speak of are way to the east - along the north shore of Loch Shin and they then head south. Miles away. They are not visible from this area and they are certainly not visible from Assynt. So they will not affect the fishermen and walkers who visit this area.

      The forestry plantations: Yes - there are quite a few square miles of this mature forestry. But as you will have seen as you walk down Glen Einig, this is being harvested, and not replanted. It will soon be no more. Even if it were to be replanted, I would liken forestry to a dent on your Ferrari's bonnet. A wind farm looks like someone has thrown a bucket of acid over the entire car.

      Fences and roads: Give me strength! Is this worthy of a reply? No. You're just being foolish.

      This is a long comment, so I shall split it now as Blogger doesn't allow massive comments.

      Delete
    2. PART 2

      Point 3
      "It also inconviently (sic) has a local population who while enjoying some benefit from tourism cannot be described as thriving from it. In fact many of these communities are dying even with nothing being allowed to develop without the usual cry of "what about the tourists?" It is a long winter."

      VisitScotland estimate that 1.88 million people from the rest of the UK and almost 0.4 million people from overseas visited the Highlands in 2012/13. These visitors spent a combined total of £509 million. You will also note, that this particular area of the Highlands relies three times as much on tourism as the Highlands as a whole. If you were to remove that extra factor from the equation (and say gave it the "resulting average" reliance) the Highland figure would drop by 24%. This means that this area actually relies on tourism, not three times as much, but between four and five times as much as the rest of the Highland region! A third of the local economy relies on tourism; tourism that will go elsewhere if this wind farm is built. Just read the comments on the Highland Council Planning website. It's as plain as plain can be!

      To increase tourism you need to increase your marketing and indeed, I'm pleased to see that the Scottish Government is doing just that! It has very recently launched the North Coast 500 Route. You will see from the two comments I pasted into the comments section further up the thread that local hoteliers are fiercely opposed to this wind farm and are investing in their establishments. Would they be investing if tourism was worth so little? Of course not.
      Yes, the tourism season is short in this region of the Highlands - it has always been so. But the answer to that is surely to try to lengthen this period. Which is what the SG is trying to do.

      Point 4 "The strength of the pound against the euro just now is also bound to hurt tourist numbers this season."

      You will see that 17.5% of visitors to this area come from abroad (0.4 million compared to a total of 2.88 million tourists) Let's say there will be a 10% reduction in foreign visitors? That's a drop, of less than 2% of total visitor numbers. Answer me this: What will be the drop in numbers when this wind farm is built - from the UK and foreign visitors? Ten percent? Twenty Percent? Maybe more. The local tourist businesses have coped with a strong pound in the past, and survived. They will not be able to cope with a dramatic drop off in numbers because of landscape industrialisation.

      Now go to Part 5. Thank you.

      Delete
    3. PART 3

      Point 5
      "The 2 year construction phase will bring employment and year round money to these communities. The company is offering the 5 surounding (sic) communities £100,000 each a year. Again no alternatives are offered from all the objectors."

      Have you any idea how much the two year construction phase of this wind farm will benefit the local economy? Yes, they are going to need a tea boy and cleaners for the site cabins. Yes, they will source food (and some accommodation) locally. However, they will be importing the cement, steel, turbine towers, nacelles, blades and nearly all the labour from outwith the region, and probably the country. And once that initial splurge of two years is over? Perhaps one extra local employee to manage the day-to-day affairs of the wind farm, And that's it. Finished. And during this time and forever more, the rest of the local tourist economy is stuffed. Good economics? No.

      That £100,00 a year to each of the five local communities. This is not a contract. It is a an "objective." It is NOT guaranteed. And, how is that money to be spent? Let's say there are just fifty households in each community. That's £2k per household. How does that stack up against the major breadwinner losing his/her job because the local hotel has gone bankrupt? But in fact, it is not even as pretty as that! These handouts are not to individual households, are they? They are to local community schemes - play parks, local schools etc. So the households don't get any money at all.

      Why would the objectors want to fund a wind farm that isn't built? They fund the area by visiting it and spending their money on the local goods and services and thereby supporting the community directly with their own hard-earned money.


      Point 6 "Tourism alone is not enough to sustain these communities. We need year round work to support young families in these areas."

      You will see from the points I made in Part 2 of my reply to you that tourism is the major employer in the area - providing one third of the economy. This means that two thirds of the economy is supported by other means. It should be up to central and local government to encourage the growth of this two thirds of the economy - exactly as it does elsewhere in the country. The increasing spend on infrastructure in Scotland (transport, fibre comms etc) means that this is more likely to happen. Lobby for money on infrastructure to support growth - not for damaging wind farms that will force a contraction in business and a reliance on community subsidies! That is just common sense!

      Delete
    4. PART 4

      Point 7
      "Not only do we need this scheme, but we need more."

      Do I need to dignify this point with a response, after everything that I have written so far? I think the simple answer is a resounding NO!

      So, James: Your otherwise reasonable sounding comment is nothing of the sort. It is based entirely on the spin and bluster put out by the wind farm industry. You are not going to be better off with this wind farm. Your tourist industry will, in all likelihood, suffer extremely badly, which will have disastrous effects on the local economy.
      You will screw up a world-class landscape for ever. You should be ashamed of yourself for even promoting this wind farm for this fact alone.

      Have a good day, Sir.

      Delete
  28. I object on pure economic grounds as well as wanting to save the landscape. A £120 billion cost in wind turbines with the needed back-up capacity by 2020 - 2030 (subsidies etc and all the costs). The same by gas-fired power plants is £13 to 14 billion. Economics wins - save money and stop wind farms. Landlords love turbines as the subsidies are huge. Why allow the poorest to fund the life of the few rich landowners with subsidies levelled on their energy bills. The poor pay the rich reap the dividend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well put, Martin

      The economics of wind power just don't add up. The wind industry itself says that the current subsidies are over generous, as shown by the very recent Contracts for Difference auctions which showed that wind farm operators can happily work with FAR less subsidy. Wind farms are incredibly expensive power generators, especially, as you rightly point out, when you consider all the extra required infrastructure and the extra costs forced upon conventional generators due to wind.

      Wind is also a major redistributor of wealth from the fuel poor to the rich. For this reason alone I am amazed that the Labour Party support the current subsidies.

      Delete
  29. An excellent decimation of James's very weak case, Alan! I object to wind turbines not only for their visible impact on the landscapes. Turbines, being totally weather dependent are a wholly useless, unreliable and intermittent contributor to our electricity supply system. The cannot produce electricity when required, they destabilise the grid, they cause health problems to people who have the misfortune of living near them, their generation density is very small and require huge swathes of land. Take Longannet at 2400MW capacity as a comparator - how many people realise that it would require 3,200 x 3MW (with 25% capacity factor) wind turbines to provide an equivalent (but unreliable) output?? Wind turbines also impoverish Scotland's electricity consumer for the benefit of local landowners and foreign developer and foreign turbine manufacturers - not to mention filling the coffers of the largely foreign owned electricity distributors (only SSE/Hydro remains a UK owned company).
    A quick look at the financial data relating to wind turbines shows that in the vast majority of installations, they "earn" more from subsidies (and constraint payments) that they do for the electricity they generate. That's the economics of the mad house!
    As I type this, across the UK wind is generating 200MW (from a metered capacity of 8400MW) - down from 300MW early this morning. Without Longannet, Peterhead, Torness and Hunterston we'd be in the dark - literally

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good comment, George.
      Of course another downside to wind turbines is that they export our CO2 emissions to countries where electricity is cheaper - ie it is generated by thermal stations - because wind forces the overall price up for our own power.
      So, it may *appear* as though our 'carbon footprint' is being reduced, but in actual fact this is only because the goods are being made abroad, and probably with thermal plant a lot less CO2 efficient than those of the UK, which we are shutting dow,
      Total madness.

      Delete
  30. Thank you Alan for the detailed reply. I came across your article while researching the arguments being put forward by objectors to the Caplich scheme in our local paper. I am glad you noticed that I was trying to be reasonable as that was my intention. You have to forgive me for not fully researching your site first as I was mainly attracted by the title which I felt was a bit dramatic. After I posted I noticed that along with your rosette which has pride of place at the top you describe yourself as anti wind farm. I have done some research while preparing my reply but again I will have to ask you to forgive me if you find yourself retreading ground with anything I mention. My post on your site was based on my view as a native Highlander, living and working in the area.
    Point 1:- I would have to say that I can see the point in the Scottish Government's target of generating 100% of the electricity used from renewable sources( not just wind as stated by yourself). To date in Scotland 1 Thermal Reduction power station has closed, at Cockenzie, due to emission targets. To my mind the main problem with generating with fossil fuels is the fact that along with the infrastructure costs, which would be a factor in any new build electricity generation, you also have to provide fuel.
    I believe in 2013 the UK produced 39% of it's electricity using coal. This required 50.1 million tonnes of coal, from a total of 60.7 million tonnes of coal used in the UK that year. That same year the UK imported 49.4 million tonnes of coal. I could carry on for gas and oil, but the principle for me is that with renewables the fuel is here and not running out.
    As far as nuclear goes again we need to import the fuel.
    Obviously the major plus for these sources is the large, reliable amounts that can be produced as long as we can get the fuel. This is a huge issue and I have not even touched on safety, cost, dwindling supplies and whether party political yes mouth pieces who get ministerial positions purely for toeing the party line understand the issues enough to have a hope of producing an achievable policy. Like you I'll need to use other posts to fit this all in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NOTE!

      Before folk jump in to reply to James, could we give him time to make all his replies?
      Thank you
      Appreciated.

      Delete
  31. Point 2:- I forgot to mention the wind turbines at the back of Rosehall and the mobile phone masts. The power line I was speaking about is the one that runs from Ledmore junction to Rosehall and beyond. I have to admit that I have never walked down Glen Einig, but I do drive through this area regularly, usually about once a week. There is a large man made block of forestry pretty much from the Ault right through to Lairg and Bonar Bridge and beyond, with new areas recently planted. I totally stand by my comment that this area is already dominated by man made features and definately roads and fences are in.
    I also like seeing the turbines. I find them impressive and peaceful and definately less concerning than a nuclear power station. But that's just me, there's no accounting for taste and I do not see that anything can be done to try and make you like what I like or vice versa.
    Point 3:- Thanks for picking up on the spelling mistake, I'm trying my best to keep my spellings proper and all that, but I'm only human and these mistakes help me keep my feet on the ground.The VisitScotland figures for 2013 show a total number of UK tourist trips of 1.918 million and overseas trips of 474,000 with a total spend of £736 million. The figures for 2012 show UK numbers of 1.875 million trips, overseas 440,000 and a total spend of £448 million. I've tried to find a total of wind farms constructed in the Highlands in 2012 but could not. However as these wind farms tend to be going up quite regularly I think it is safe to assume that even though there were more wind farms in 2012 than 2011, more tourists came in 2013. Could you please provide your sources for the devasting drop in tourist numbers you are predicting? I also notice that even with the 1.9 million UK trips there have been less than 600 comments on the Highland Council's page for the Caplich application. In fact off the back of the continued global media coverage of climate change and CO2 emissions, Scotland's commitment to renewable sources could be a potential attraction.
    You have mentioned that local hoteliers are fiercely opposed, however you only include comments from 2 hoteliers. I am not disputing their real and worrying concerns. There are 9 hotels I can quickly think of in the area stretching from the south of the area being offered money by this scheme to Scourie in the north, and as far east as the Oykel Bridge Hotel. There are more hotels east of Oykel in the area being directly offered money, but I don't know how many, as I'm only human and have only got so much time. I would suggest that a more accurate reply would have been "some hoteliers". I do agree with you that extending the tourist season and attracting more tourists would be a good thing.
    Point 4:- I still think that the strength of the Pound against the Euro is a bigger threat to tourist numbers. It makes overseas holidays more affordable for UK holidaymakers and trips from Europe to here more expensive. What is the source of the numbers you quote?
















    ReplyDelete
  32. Point 5:- I personally know local workers who have had significantly more work from wind farm construction contracts than being either the tea boy or cabin cleaner, whereas plenty of people up here will have had a similar level of job in the tourist industry, waiting tables or cleaning holiday cottages (myself included, and I was very glad for the work). Though it is interesting that that is all you think the locals have to offer or are capable of competing for. Also even 1 full time, year round, permanent post up here is not to be dismissed at all.
    I am aware that the £100,000 figure bouncing around (by me as well) is not guaranteed. I am also aware that the money will not be paid directly to individuals. I also find it interesting that the bad examples you quote of things the money might get spent on are playparks and schools. Pity help us, why on earth would we want money spent on our children?
    Also the idea of the major bread winner losing their job if the hotel shut that you mentioned got me thinking to see if I could think of anyone I knew locally whose family was mainly supported by someone employed in the tourist industry, and I could not. If I am wrong I'll stand corrected and apologise. I can think of families where 1 member works in the tourist industry and another member has another source of income. I can think of people who own a tourist related business and are supported by it, but I stand by my comment that as an industry it is not enough by itself. As I said in my reply to point 3 I do not think it has to be a choice between tourism and wind farms. Some tourists will be put off, others may be attracted.
    Point 6:- Apart from the last point above I broadly agree with you. Government help with infrastructure and support for new business is needed, and it is up to us to lobby for it.
    Point 7:- At last the end. I have not typed this much in a long time and it takes ages with my single finger style, like a hen pecking at the ground.For Caplich you say no, I say yes.When I said we need more, I meant not just wind farms but varied jobs and sources of income. My family for as far back as I know have lived in the Highlands and Islands. The land has always been worked to provide a living and in a way that is why I like seeing the wind farms because it is a new way of supporting the population. I have tried to sound reasonable because I want to be reasonable. None of the above has been put in my mouth by the wind farm industry. It is my honest thoughts and opinions that my life has brought me to at this point. I reckon your's are from a similar source, though obviously different to mine. I am not ashamed of any of it.

    ReplyDelete
  33. The wonderful NW Highlands and, what a superb blog!

    ReplyDelete

Hi.
Because of spammers, I moderate all comments, so don't worry if your comment seems to have disappeared; It has been sent to me for approval. As soon as I see it, I'll deal with it straight away.
Thank you!