Minds must be made

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SCOTLAND must realise wind is an important factor in the country controlling its own energy supplies.

That was the view of SNP South of Scotland MSP Chic Brodie, who also spoke at the meeting in Ballantrae.

Mr Brodie welcomed the meeting and believed it to be very useful and praised those who attended for the open way they approached all speakers.

He said: “While I anticipated it would be slightly emotive, I found that the audience and the speakers approached the issue in a realistic way and the questions were provocative and searching. It was a good meeting.”

The Scottish National Party have expressed a desire in the past for Scotland to maximise energy from wind as they see it as one of the country’s greatest resources.

Mr Brodie said: “The issue we have to confront is the future of energy supply in Scotland.

“The Saudi Arabians and the Russians increasingly control our gas supplies. The Bolivians and the Chinese increasingly control the coal supplies and uranium needed for the nuclear industry.

“I tried to point out that wind was an important factor in Scotland controlling its own energy supplies.

“Does that mean we want a proliferation of wind turbines on and off shore? No it doesn’t. Our local councils must look at the cumulative impact when making their recommendations, particularly on the large farms which are currently being scoped in South Carrick and West Dumfries and Galloway.”

Scottish Labour’s Graeme Pearson admitted he was in neither for or against camps, but since becoming an MSP he was working to understand the many issues involving renewable energy sources.

He did believe, however, that Scotland needed clear national policy. He said: “We are in dire need of a national policy ensuring the provision of energy to our communities for the future.

“The fudging of decisions over the past 20 years has left us in a difficult position and made the situation pressing. We do need to make up our minds.

“I do not believe the Government has properly set out the scale of the problem we face in relation to our energy problem and the full range of options available to resolve those problems. If the objections to wind farm developments were ‘nimby’ in basis, I would have little sympathy for the case.”

Mr Brodie argued that wind power had to be one energy source that must still be considered in the future. He added: “Wind-supported renewables have a major part to play in our future energy needs, as do wave and tidal power, biogas and biofuel and hydro and hydrolysis. We must, however, be alert to the impact that our energy plans have on individuals and communities and I would fully expect planning decisions to take these fully into account.”

Meeting organiser Dr Mhairi McKenna was delighted with the turnout and said: “There were presentations by Struan Stevenson MEP, Stuart Young and Susan Croswaithe outlining problems which are experienced with the large wind farm developments to tourism, health, how local inhabitants are ridden roughshod over by the planning; and then there was a video which demonstrated the phenomenon of shadow flicker.

“Nic Coombey gave an excellent presentation on the proposed biosphere reserve and how the turbines could affect it.

“The case for wind farms was put by Chic Brodie (MSP) and by Martin Mathers, representative from of Scottish Power Renewables. There was no review of the effects the large number of turbines have on tourism, which was interesting given that Mr Brodie is on the Committee for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism at the Scottish Parliament.

“Mr Mathers gave a well presented argument for wind and a lively question and answer session followed and the meeting lasted three hours.”