Local people protesting against a wind farm application in the Lammermuir Hills say the Scottish Government â€œmust listenâ€ to their plight after over 350 hundred people joined a specially arranged protest march that was also attended by conservationist Prof. David Bellamy OBE.
The number of protestors that gathered for the march through theÂ Lammermuir Hills was higher than the total number of households in the local area â€“ a clear sign of the overwhelming opposition to the wind farm, say organisers.
The Say No To Fallago group is trying to protect the as yet unspoiled core of the Lammermuir Hills, which is threatened by the construction of an enormous wind farm on a site known as Fallago Rig. The area is already surrounded by wind turbines and the plan by energy giant North British Wind Power to build a further 48 wind turbines would link the existing turbines, blighting the untouched core of a designated Area of Great Landscape Value.
Mark Rowley, spokesman for the Say No To Fallago protest group said: â€œThere is no greater affirmation of the strength of opposition to this wind farm than that seen today on our protest walk.
â€œIt is a fact that more people oppose this application than live in our small local community. We have really touched a nerve and we feel that those who cherish the importance of Scotlandâ€™s rural landscapes are behind us. The Scottish Government must listen to our concerns. We cannot risk the complete saturation of such a beautiful part of the world with wind turbines.â€
The protest walk took attendees along a nine mile stretch of the Lammermuir Hills and was designed to celebrate the views that could soon disappear if the Fallago Rig application is rubber stamped by the recently completed public inquiry. A decision is due shortly.
The protesters say the Scottish Government is determined to approve the Fallago Rig application despite question marks raised by the Ministry of Defence and significant concerns raised about the impact on the landscape, local wildlife, conservation efforts and recreational visitors.
Across the Scottish Borders there are currently 163 operational wind turbines, 92 approved but not yet built, 103 pending, 30 refused, and 48 pending appeal with scoping proposals for another 16 wind farms with a combined total of 220 turbines. The area has already approved more megawatts of wind energy power than any other Scottish authority and locals believe they have reach saturation point.
But this can be seen as a good reason to site the windfarms here. North British Windpower says, “There is an exceptional wind resource, which will make this one of the most efficient wind farms in the UK. The site is already crossed by a major pylon line and the windfarm will be connected directly to the grid; no new poles or pylons will be required.”
Formal opposition to the Fallago Rig application already includes East Lothian and Scottish Borders Councils and a joint representation of the areaâ€™s various Community Councils. It was even opposed by Scottish Natural Heritage, the organisation that advises the Scottish Government on landscape issues. The number of Facebook protesters has also grown dramatically, with 257 members now signed up in just two weeks.
The Say No To Fallago group awaits the formal decision from the second public inquiry into the Fallago Rig application, but its members have vowed to fight the Scottish Government if the inquiry approves the wind farm.
The Say No To Fallago Facebook Group can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=115063868535547