Time to see the bigger picture

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An agent acting on behalf of a client near Jedburgh wishing to erect two 40metre-high turbines, each capable of generating 50 watts of electricity, on his land just off the A68 south of the town has submitted a scathing assessment designed to head off any criticism of the development and its possible impact on tourism.

Dr John Bell said in his application to Scottish Borders Council that “this opinion also singularly fails to take account of the real issues surrounding discouragement of tourists – atrocious service, poor accommodation and, most importantly, the massive litter problem we seem to have, spoiling all locations”.

Dr Bell hasn’t minced his words and, understandably, many will feel upset at his comments.

His generalisation fails to recognise the large number of quality businesses that operate in the Borders and succeed in attracting large numbers of visitors to our region every year – and would not continue to do so if they offered the type of service he suggests. But as with all generalisations, there is some truth in what he says.

However, Dr Bell seems to have failed to see the bigger picture that has resulted in people’s anger and frustration over wind farms. It’s not just the fact that many feel they look unattractive, or that the ground works and materials used in their creation are visually and environmentally destructive, but it is the cumulative impact on the visual landscape of those erected, extended or proposed for our beautiful region.

The matter will be settled on planning grounds, but Dr Bell should understand that all people are asking for is moderation.

We understand farmers are having to diversify and that the Scottish Government has its obligations over green energy, but we also have a duty to preserve our heritage for future generations, and while two turbines in themselves might not seem much, Dr Bell needs to remember the bigger picture.