Tuesday, 18 October 2011
A Sad Border Crossing
Travelling up and down the M74 through the border of Scotland and England in the past few weeks, I was stunned by the size of the windfarm on the east and the pylons on the west side of the motorway. What a wonderful welcome to motoring visitors to Scotland to see such a display of renewable energy - plus old energy - within a few miles of the Scottish border. How pleased visitors must feel to be entering a country where wind turbines are sprinkled like the heather they thought would welcome them.
Covering the countryside with wind turbines is not the answer to resolving Scotland's energy problem. It's exceptionally well recorded that they do not provide the energy suggested and yet the Scottish government continues to sing their praises, yet we hear little about the actual amount of permanent jobs which have been created since their inception. Could that be because the jobs are so few? I wonder.
Yesterday the Scottish media heralded the removal of electricity pylons in the Cairngorm National Park prior to the start of construction work on the controversial Beauly to Denny power line. What the BBC or ITV did not mention is that pylons on other parts of the route are to be replaced with new ones between 42m and 65m tall - around 50% larger than those being felled.
The technology is there for all power supplies to be put underground yet, because the energy companies refuse to do this owing to cost, government has decided to compromise.
There should be no compromise on this matter. Companies should be told underground or not at all. Two years ago the German green party started to doubt their efficiency yet the Scottish government has ignored the warning.
Of course we need to create jobs, but work which will be of a long-term benefit to society. Windfarms don't do that, but they do seriously reduce the impact of Scotland's magnificent countryside - it's best-selling point. I suspect more than a few Scottish politicians hope that more and more visitors arrive by air rather than road. Let's not even consider those treacherous emissions...