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For peat's sake!

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Highlands and Islands | Wind energy company in Euro call

A major wind farm developer has asked European Commissioners to acknowledge support for its 181-turbine proposal for Barvas Moor on Lewis.

Wind farms or peat bogs: Scotland's green dilemma - Scotsman.com News
POETS and scientists alike have sung its praises. The vast swathe of peatland that covers much of Lewis is held in high regard for its environmental qualities and the rich wildlife it sustains.
Scotland's vast expanses of peat bogs are regarded as our equivalent of the rainforests, and 17 per cent of the world's "blanket bog" is in this country. In all, Scottish peatlands cover some 1.9 million hectares and contain about two billion tons of carbon – roughly four times the UK's annual output – as well as "sucking in" carbon from the atmosphere.

But the wild land on Lewis could be turned into an industrial landscape if the building of 176 turbines is granted approval, and other vital peatlands face the same fate.

Campaigners against the proposal say building a renewable energy facility on an area of peatland is a massive contradiction, as it will release the very carbon dioxide that renewables are meant to reduce.

The Scottish Government has said it is "minded to refuse" the £500 million project but has yet to make a final decision. If it does go ahead, thousands of tonnes of peat would be excavated from the moor and huge amounts of concrete and aggregates poured into the ground to accommodate the foundations, roads and sub-stations.

The effect on the peatland, which has been built up over thousands of years, is a growing concern, not just on Lewis but in other parts of Scotland under pressure from the renewables race.

Last week, the Scottish Government approved an application for a 35-turbine development at Gordonbush, on the edge of the Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Special Protection Area, despite local and national objections.

Is there no end to this madness? We look on in horror now how James Matheson in the mid 1800 set up an oil refinery there, burning the peat to make paraffin from it. I'm happy for the conservationists to argue that the peat bogs have an important role in absorbing CO2 or whatever, there are only two acceptable uses for peat that I believe make it worth digging up. To flavour the whisky and to bank up the cottage fire you enjoy it in front of.

Comments

Even when the wind is blowing fast enough (but not too fast!) a very large chunk of the electricity produced will be lost in the very long (and very ugly) line of pylons across the Highlands to the nearest city.

Why are people so obsessed with wind farms? For the environmental damage they do in building them, one wonders how people can see them as environmentally friendly.

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