Simon Gourlay attempts to manipulate the Powys Planning Committee Members before they have even seen his application. He tells them that he is a public benefactor while objectors to Reeves Hill Wind Farm are a small minority. He gives his own imaginary account of SHCG’s legal battles against Reeves Hill Wind Farm. And Sir Simon is still riding the same old hobbyhorse named “Ardrossan”.
In an open letter circulated to members of Powys Planning Committee and the Town Councillors of Knighton and Presteigne, Gourlay announces that Bolsterstone have re-submitted their planning application for access to the proposed Reeves Hill Wind Farm.
In an effort to manipulate voting, Gourlay states that he intends to forgo the ground rental from two turbines and divide it between to the Spaceguard Centre and a charity conserving rainforest. But this is not a material planning consideration. Of course Gourlay is free to do as he likes with his private money – and so are the many local people, from all walks of life, who have given up their hard-won savings to fight his plans for turbines on Stonewall Hill.
Gourlay’s letter contains a lot of wishful thinking. He says that opponents to his unpopular scheme are “very small in number” and that SHCG lost “three appeals against the Herefordshire decision”. Does he not know that objectors cannot appeal against a planning decision? SHCG were refused one Judicial Review of Herefordshire’s decision. SHCG’s legal intervention caused Herefordshire to revoke their Section 73 planning decision to vary planning conditions. For their part, Bolsterstone backed down from their own JR proceedings against the Welsh Assembly Government. They did not want to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment as required by WAG, but now they have had to do so.
Gourlay brings up the town of Ardrossan on the West coast of Scotland (yet again!) as an example of how people learn to love turbines. He is not comparing like with like. The urban surroundings and muffling effect of the intervening dual carriageway of Ardrossan are a far cry from the tranquil isolation of Stonewall Hill. Gourlay quotes enthusiastic comments about Ardrossan’s turbines. According to a reporter on the Ayrshire Weekly Press, these patronizing comments infuriated many local people and came from a councillor who is a renowned campaigner and lobbyist for wind farms. We have been told that she then lost her seat and went on to join a wind farm development company.
Ardrossan wind farm was opened in 2004. Two of the fifteen turbines are in a Regional Park. In the meantime, many Scots have become disenchanted with their wind farms. A survey of nearly 1,000 climbers and hill walkers, published by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (M.C.S, March 2014), revealed that 68% say parts of Scotland are now less appealing because of wind farms. Around two thirds have already been put off by wind farms from visiting or revisiting places in Scotland they had visited before. 67% say wind farms are making Scotland as a whole a less appealing place to visit. David Gibson, M.C.S Chief Officer, said: “The survey results are a stark warning to the Scottish Government – badly sited wind farms are a serious threat to Scotland’s reputation as a tourism destination.”
For Scotland, read Wales!
The ardrossan wind farm fire images and video at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5KvJjI21i0> will not inspire confidence in those who would have to walk, ride or drive along Stonewall Hill just 105m from Bolsterstone’s proposed turbines!