No principle objection to renewables

Following Mark Entwistle’s excellent article in last week’s Southern, I should like to clarify a couple of points.

Firstly, although Lauderdale Preservation Group is opposing the Corsbie Moor power station, as our constitution makes clear, we are not opposed in principle to any renewable energy scheme, including wind power, where this is sympathetic to the local community and appropriate to the landscape and local environment.

Unfortunately, there are not many developments which meet these criteria, although I can point to two in Lauderdale.

There is a 66ft turbine at Threepwood which has been carefully located to be invisible and inaudible to neighbours. It can be seen from only one point on a public road, but since from the same point the eye is drawn to the huge turbines of the Longpark wind farm to the south, I doubt if anyone will notice it. The two 100ft turbines at Whitslaid are also unobjectionable. They are below the skyline from most viewpoints, well within the landowner’s own property, and have been subject to a careful noise assessment.

Secondly, the article quotes the developer’s claimed figures for energy produced and carbon dioxide potentially remitted. Both are based on a highly optimistic assumption of power station load factor, or efficiency, of 30 per cent. This has never been achieved by any Borders wind farm. Last year, Dun Law on Soutra, which is 500ft higher and therefore windier, achieved less than 20 per cent.

The claim that this development could “power 15,000 homes” is untrue. At best it could meet the average electricity consumption of these. This is an important distinction, since less than a quarter of the energy used in homes is in the form of electricity.

The claim that Corsbie Moor could displace 31,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (or 25,000 tonnes using a more realistic load factor of 25 per cent) is strictly correct, but misleading. The UK emits around 540 million tonnes of CO2 annually, so in this context a few thousand tonnes is insignificant. More to the point, on a global scale, this annual remission is equivalent to what China puts out every two minutes.

The proposed Corsbie Moor development would have a negligible impact on UK energy security or world climate change amelioration, while damaging the quality of life of local residents, as well as Borders landscape and tourism.

Jack Ponton

(chairman, Lauderdale Preservation Group)