A few weeks back I took a walk through Caldercruix and on past Hillend Reservoir, before taking the road past the quarry workings at Cairneyhill and on to Forrestburn where I spent an enjoyable few hours watching the huge variety of birdlife which visits the area. I was really pleased to see some great birds of prey, as well as a few birds which will by now be on their way back to Africa, including a close encounter with a Cuckoo!
Forrestburn is by no means wild land. It’s a combination of farm land mixed with the industrial. The roads near here are thick with the dust of the quarry, but the open vista across towards West Lothian and the Pentland Hills is pleasing on the eye, and the view to the north takes in a fair few Munros. What cannot be denied is that there are already a large number of turbines in place around here. It’s difficult to find an area of the horizon where they aren’t somewhere in your field of vision. This area is, bit by bit, becoming a huge windfarm. What is ridiculous is that almost every application that is put in locally has the potential to adversely affect the bird and bat populations.
If these huge white monsters are so welcome then I wonder why they don’t fill our public parks, or ring our villages, towns and cities? The answer is simple: too many objectors! Find a space in the countryside where applications may pass most folk by though, or be far enough off not to be considered a nuisance and they will slip through. Sadly I fear that this application will be passed with little trouble as it falls into that bracket. It’s on no-ones immediate doorstep. It’s over the hill from Caldercruix, so out of sight, out of mind for most.
For those who might think about objecting the company will no doubt point to the ‘generous’ community benefit fund it will create which it will be in the region of £60,000 a year. One might ask just how much profit is being made to pay such a fee, and where that money comes from. The answer lies somewhere between the Scottish Government paying OUR money to developers to install these turbines and the exorbitant electricity costs levied on the ciustomers: us! Another thing that must be considered is that North Lanarkshire pools these Community Benefits into a fund- it’s unlikely anyone near Forrestfield would see a single penny, as it would no doubt be spent on projects elsewhere.
So if those nearby are unlikely to object then who will look after the interests of the birds which migrate through here? They are a resource too, but unlike a turbine, when they are gone, they are gone.
More details about the proposed windfarm can be found at: http://www.westcoastenergy.co.uk/project/forrestfield/
I will post more details when the application is submitted.