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YOUR VIEWS: Is there any real need for onshore wind power and Highland speed limits

By Gregor White

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Wind turbines are a thorny topic.
Wind turbines are a thorny topic.

What has been exercising readers this week?

What evidence for wind need?

Fergus Ewing, SNP MSP, recently wrote that he wants people to “have a stake in the wind farms they look out upon.” That’s all very commendable Mr Ewing but you have seriously misread the room on this. Community bribery is not wanted or acceptable.

Instead of scatter gunning our landscapes with Scottish Government-backed giant turbines almost double the height of Scotland’s tallest building, the Glasgow Tower, you should be joining your constituents and targeted communities in asking for evidence of need for further wind turbines or their environment busting infrastructure currently proposed by SSEN.

Before election in 2007 Mr Ewing was highly critical of Labour-Liberal wind policy.

He was quoted as saying: “The Scottish Executive policy seems to be based on the Martini advert: any time, any place, anywhere.”

What has happened since has been catastrophic for rural Scotland. The turbines prior to 2007 were party poppers compared to the monsters of today.

Without a coherent policy of how to get power from remote wind turbines or have a guaranteed market to take any excess wind energy Mr Ewing’s party has presided over the felling of millions of CO2-absorbing trees, the digging up of thousands of acres of carbon-holding ancient peat, allowing Big ‘green’ Energy to ransack and colonise our iconic environment and devastate communities.

Mr Ewing also said: “Wind farms have, however, a very heavy environmental footprint not only blotting the landscape in places such as Dava which has huge beauty and Lochindorb which is of considerable historic interest, but also in the release of substantial quantities of methane from peat landscapes”.

Has he seen the wind-trashed Dava under his party’s watch?

He added: “I believe that the current wind farm free for all policy is flawed and I hope that at a new Scottish Executive led by my own party from May will call a halt to this and introduce a balanced policy with a location strategy and community benefit.”

In 16 years since election the Scottish Government he has been part of, including as energy minister, has trashed rural Scotland and backed ruthless multinationals over its own citizens.

With threats of the most horrific infrastructure for yet more wind farms indisputable evidence of need must be forthcoming and we demand that our elected representatives stand with us and not with the multinational colonisers concerned only about their bottom line and shareholders.

If Mr Ewing is keen to use advertising slogans to make a point, maybe he would like to help protect rural Scotland and its communities against further unnecessary industrialisation “because we are worth it”.

Lyndsey Ward


Spokeswoman for Communities B4 Power Companies

Are the correct speed limits being applied to the correct roads?
Are the correct speed limits being applied to the correct roads?

Sort out speed limits

SP+NK is currently working with clients across the Highlands, in Kiltarlity, Ardersier, and Nairn.

In each case, prevailing speed limits make for dangerous/ difficult use of the roads around the sites. In each case, my clients clearly have a vested interest in the speed limits being reduced, but, nonetheless, those prevailing speed limits, especially considering the currently implementing Highland Council policy of 20mph in all towns, seem out of balance with the use of the roads, and the population density off of those.

We have contacted the Highland Council intwo2 locations, as well as the local councils, and in one location my client is leading the conversation with the local council.

1. Kiltarlty, on the A833 generally from Kiltarlity to the north, and the Colvin junction to the south. This stretch of road is currently a national speed limit zone. There are more than 21 individual accesses directly serving more than 60 homes and five businesses on this 1.6-mile stretch of road. The stretch is very straight, with a significant drop over its length. Some of the view is restricted by the arching over tree canopy. We are petitioning the council to reduce this stretch of road to 40mph. During the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, this stretch is reduced to a 30mph.

My client, Solid Luxury operates lodges to the south end of this stretch. The southern end of this stretch serves Great Glen Lodges. These two business clearly generate a lot of income to the area, whilst brining in tourists who are unfamiliar with the local roads.

2. Ardersier, B9006 Old Military Road to Fort George. This stretch of road is currently a national speed limit zone. The end of the 20/30 zone is set between the two accesses to Mcleod Organics and HEIM sites, bisecting a small cluster of three houses on the south, and sitting between two access to the track serving the house to the north of the road. Having two ‘loops’ that can enter from a national speed limit and exit into a restricted area within a few hundred yards is confusing to drivers, whilst the very short straight stretch from the edge of Ardersier to Fort George becomes a sprint stretch.

Morven Mcleod of HEIM and Mcleod Organics/ Kylerona Farm is leading contact with the council with a view to extending the village speed restriction to encompass her home, and both access to the farm.

3. Househill, A939 Nairn to Grantown-on-Spey. This stretch of road, from the end of the town restrictions at the north junction to Granny Barbour’s Road to the Househill Business Centre, is flanked on one side by a footpath. This footpath ends at Torvean, leaving pedestrians to navigate the perilous journey around the blind corner at the infamous wall, and along to the café, farm shop, hair salon, and home style shop. There is also Netherton Tractors now based at Househill Farm, the future battery farm, and the field access attached to The Cottage as well as the old Househill gated entrance.

Along the length, there is the difficult bend at the junction to the unclassified road to Househill Meadows and Househill Gate, before the Househill Drive access and finally The Cottage on the right and Torvean on the left.

As the owner of The Cottage, a worried parent, and my wife operating HFBC who are considering the the use of our field opposite Housheill Farm Business Centre as a base, I have contacted the local councillors, and the Highland Council, to seek an extension of the Nairn restrictions to at least 100m beyond the Househill Farm Business Centre entrance. This may assist with the frequent RTAs at the difficult bend mentioned above, and also at the bend to the south just beyond the Househill Farm entrance where a car entering the field happens 3-4 times a year.

As context, this access to Nairn, the only one with a business centre and café at the extremes, is also the only one not protected with a speed restriction.

In each case, we consider that the Highland Council is avoiding its duty of care to provide a safe roads network, with consideration to the population and use of the road. This is particularly frustrating whilst a blanket 20mph programme is enacted, and recently, the B9101 was assessed as a 50mph zone between the A939 cross roads and Cawdor, whilst more populous, and dangerous areas are disregarded.

Kenny Spink


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