The Turbulent Issue of Wind Turbines│ Bill Grant MP

Wind turbines. One of the hottest topics in my constituency, beyond a doubt.

Some people love them, and think they’ll save the planet. Some people hate them, and think they’ll destroy Scotland’s landscape.

Most of us are probably open-minded – recognising the benefits of renewable energy, but not wishing to see turbines ruin the environment.

There is also a health aspect that some of my constituents have brought to my attention.

People living near turbines have issues with noise and flicker which they believe is causing them stress, insomnia and other health problems.

I recently asked a Commons question on the methods involved in measuring low-frequency noise and infrasound from turbines.

A government spokesman advised that present studies show ‘no significant impact’ on human health, however he added that the government was ‘carefully monitoring’ new studies, both within the UK and abroad.

So, to some extent, the jury is out on this contentious but serious health matter.

In terms of visual impact, I believe the Carrick area of my constituency is pretty much ‘maxed out’ in terms of turbines.

Any more, and we’d be in danger of ruining the natural environment of a beautiful area.

Another aspect of wind turbines that causes me concern is the community benefits, which on occasions can cause division within communities as there can be unfairness in the way ‘community benefits’ are allocated.

A prime example is the Dersalloch wind farm, completed less than a year ago, and featuring 23 turbines – all of them on South Ayrshire soil.

But the windfarm is geographically close to Doon Valley communities – in East Ayrshire - who receive none of the financial benefits.

These are wholly distributed in South Ayrshire via the North Carrick Community Benefit Company.

It does seem an unfair anomaly, particularly when a large part of Patna lies south of the River Doon - within the historic area of Carrick.

Perhaps we should have left the UK’s old counties alone. It was a unifying factor – whether you lived in Ayrshire, Antrim or Anglesey. But that is an argument for another day…

 

Bill Grant is the Member of Parliament for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock.

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