John Muir Trust Wind Farm Visibility Map

The John Muir Trust theoretical visibility map shows that from 60% of Scotland you are likely to be able to see wind turbines, and that is just existing turbines, not further ones that have been passed but not built or are still in planning.

The John Muir Trust whose main purpose is to protect the landscape so beloved in Scotland has produced this map to illustrate the effect on wild lands.

Impact of wind turbines on bats

More than 200,000 bats are killed each year by German wind turbines, with similar impacts being reported in other parts of the world. The numbers of fatalities are increasing as more and more wind turbines are put up. In Canada bat fatalities increased exponetially with turbine tower height (Barclay et al 2007).

Because bats have a very low reproductive rate with only one or two young each year, researchers are predicting drastic population declines in their breeding ranges.

Bats are killed by hitting the blade, but the majority are killed by their lungs and other internal organs exploding when they are exposed to rapid pressure reductions behind the blades. Wind turbines, also displace bats from key feeding areas and pose an additional threat during their migration.

The UK Government is obliged by international and domestic law to protect bat populations. In the UK all bat species and their roosts are legally protected. All nine bat species found in Scotland appear on the Scottish Biodiversity List.

For more information about the impacts of wind farms on bats read here.

Map of wind farms across Scotland

View SNH's map of proposed wind farms across Scotland here

Costs to the consumer

The rich are getting richer at the expense of rural communities and other consumers

The UK government is handing out millions of pounds in subsidies to wind development companies and the already wealthy landowners are getting even richer by having wind turbines on their land. Meanwhile 800,000 households in Scotland are already in fuel poverty with this number still increasing each year.

The proposed 36 turbine wind farm at Glenn App and Loch Ree in Ayrshire is a good example of this. Lord Inchape/Earl of Stair who is estimated to receive over half a million pounds each year. The energy company is estimated to receive over £19,583,856 of annual revenue of which £9,791,928 is in subsidies! The local communities will be lucky to receive £5,000 per wind turbine! 

For more information on how the rich are getting even richer see the following link; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/8713128/The-aristocrats-cashing-in-on-Britains-wind-farm-subsidies.html

Subsidies

No developer will build windfarms without subsidies. Electricity companies are compelled to buy this expensive electricity. Both are funded by an extra charge on every electricity bill that we the consumre are paying.This is not a government subsidy, which would be open for scrutiny. We are now paying £1 billion a year.

The cost of onshore wind to the consumer is some £200/MWhr taking into account the ROC subsidy, back up generation and additional transmission costs. This is over four times the cost of energy from conventional or nuclear sources. The cost of off-shore wind is even higher at over £250/MWhr (March 2011 Sir Donald Miller, former Chairman Scottish Power). For industry the cost is incrementally higher making electricity in the UK a very expensive and possibly unaffordable overhead. This may lead to relocation of industry abroad where energy costs are less. Subsidies for on-shore wind are higher in the UK than for virtually any other European country with a large wind investment. (EU Report into European Energy Market 2010).

Even taking into account the minimal 25% reduction in subsidies currently being considered it is likely that by 2020 the cost of ROCs will be £15 billion 1% of GDP. The UK is already facing unprecedented levels of fuel poverty and, although not solely attributable to wind power generation, this will inexorably increase with subsidies, the cost of large infrastructure projects from remote locations, the cost of expensive 90% back-up; research and development of storage projects essential for use of wind power such as development of a smart grid.

For more information on how the rich are getting even richer see the following link; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/8713128/The-aristocrats-cashing-in-on-Britains-wind-farm-subsidies.html

Environmental impacts of wind turbines

Landscape and wildlife

Windfarms reduce landscape value, kill birds and compromise wildlife habitats. They also compromise essential environmental services.

It was established in the Public Inquiry into the Cumulative Effect of Windfarms in Powys in 2001 that windfarms always have a negative effect on the landscape; the question is whether the level of negative impact remains acceptable. The conclusions reached by the Planning Inspectorate indicated clearly that the cumulative impact of such proposals on the visual and recreational quality of the upland areas in Powys would be unacceptable; these conclusions were agreed in full by the National Assembly for Wales. The height of turbines has increased by over 40 metres since then, increasing the impact and area visually affected immeasurably.

Installing a manmade structure out of proportion with its surroundings such as a large wind turbine affects individual perception and understanding of the view, natural and cultural landscape and distorts people's engagement with what they see; the value of citizen's engagement with their surroundings is acknowledged by government.

"We need to help people appreciate the historic environment and 'read the landscape' - not just the obvious elements such as castles and chapels, but also the pattern of quarries, ancient trackways, field systems and cairns. The rewards are not simply personal satisfaction for individuals. The historic environment creates our 'sense of place' and therefore our sense of shared belonging and of roots. Nurturing a living sense of what it is to be a citizen of Wales is a key priority for the Assembly Government, and citizenship cannot be a theoretical concept. It is about emotional ties and imagined community, as much with previous generations as with ones to come." Crown Copyright 2009. Heritage Minister's Ambition for the Welsh Historic Environment

Impact on birds

James Pearce-Higgins et. al. (Journal of Applied Ecology vol 46, Issue 6 pages 1139-1357) have found that birds, including buzzards, golden plovers, curlews and red grouse, are abandoning countryside around upland windfarms. The study used upland areas because they have the strongest winds and so are preferred by wind-farm developers and are favoured, by some of Britain's most vulnerable bird species. They found evidence for localised reductions in bird breeding density; birds tended to stop nesting within half a mile of any turbine. Since the effect extends around each machine, up to three quarters of a square mile could be affected by one turbine. Results highlight significant avoidance of otherwise apparently suitable habitat close to turbines in at least seven of the 12 species studied. The impact is not huge now because there are still some areas without wind farms but the researchers warn that, with hundreds more planned, plus an increase in the size of turbines, the effect could become much worse.

Where wind farms are proposed, their development should not contravene the protective measures that apply under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; Schedule 1 Birds, Schedule 5 Animals and Schedule 8 Plants.

website by The Digital Forge, Auchencairn, Castle Douglas