Spokesman of the people? (Rosa Steppanova)

Jonathan Wills, in his letter to The Shetland Times “Sabotaging Shetland”, states that “the community” is “weary”. I’ve had an extremely busy season and must have missed a momentous event. How very remiss of me.

Perhaps Jonathan would care to remind me of when exactly the people of Shetland elected him as their spokesperson and explain briefly (if possible) why I wasn’t sent a ballot paper?

Rosa Steppanova

Lea Gardens,

Tresta.

25 comments

  1. Stephen Leask

    This is too important a subject for a few people to decide for Shetland, and if the Shetland community are weary , then let them decide once and for all with a referendum .

    Reply
  2. Dennis Adamson

    Rosa,
    I am also getting a little weary of this “Island of Protesters”!!
    The UK has been dubed a Nation of Protesters and its all becoming a bore..!!
    Had this been possible during the industrial revolution where would we be now???
    I guess there would not be as much peat on the hills..!!
    More specifically since I have not been following this too close where is all the evidence of damaged lives within the EU due to Wind Tubines?
    I fly over thousands of these things in Europe and they are all turning happily round and round most every day.. when clear I can see them from 30k feet. They are along roads and canals between vilages here there and everywhere..!!
    Please give us some evidence of their damage to society,.,
    I think i will take my sleeping bag and go to Burradale for a night or 2 and visit some or the nearest neighbours for an opinion etc,,
    Ah but I forgot there is a multitude of reasons to refuse these generators..!!
    Normally a person would only have one overriding reason.??
    Maybe 2.??
    NIMBY.. unless i was gaining from it financially.. etc etc,,
    Please advise on whats really going on here??

    Cheers,,
    Dennis

    Reply
    • John Burnside

      Dear Dennis

      Your tone suggests you have not done too much research regarding the impact of wind turbines placed in the wrong areas, on wildlife, on soil structure and on communities. OK. Some suggested areas to investigate further:

      The EU has rules – not by any means extreme, or ‘green’ – about proposed developments that would damage bird environments. The Viking project was deemed, by Lady Justice Clark, to have contravened these rules. If you believe in the rule of law, that should provide cause for concern right away.

      Across Europe and America, in particular, the bird mortality figures relating to wind turbines are now being revealed by independent research (most estimates on bird mortality were provided by the wind industry). They are cause for great concern and should be heeded, as against the numbers provided by a self-serving industry. For example, the Spanish Ornithological Society estimates that Spain’s 18,000 turbines will kill upward of 6 million birds and bats per annum, (see: http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/releases/spanish-wind-farms-kill-6-to-18-million-birds-bats-a-year.html)

      The impact on soil structure still has not been fully researched, but it is clear that, on peat soils, in particular, the insertion of hundreds of large highly alkaline concrete ‘plugs’ to stabilise the turbines will have a clear effect on the soil, ground flora and, in some cases, the water table. The Viking project would certainly have an impact in all these areas.

      As to human impact? Well, imagine a group of your most self-interested neighbours ganging together to make money at the expense of the land you call home, all the whole calling it a ‘community’ project – how would you feel? This has happened all over Scotland, in particular, and it has divided communities (like my own, in East Fife) for the foreseeable future. Mostly because the pro-wind groups have no respect for local democracy; they refuse to accept the results of – or to conduct – any referendum on the issue. I know, I have been there. If you want to see your community divided, support those who stand to make money or gain power from a ‘development’ that will do little for the community as a whole.

      I have to stop here, because of space. But with all due respect, I ask you to consider this again, do some research (avoiding all the PR out there from wind companies and lobbyists) and decide: is this what you want to happen to such a large area of Shetland?

      Reply
  3. Jonathan Wills

    Oh dear, Rosa is being sarcastic again. She knows very well that I was elected by the people of Lerwick South ward in February 2008 and again, with an increased share of the vote, in May 2012. I suppose this does make me a “spokesman of the people”, as she calls it. Being elected certainly gives me the duty to consider and express views upon matters of public policy. In this country we elect councillors to take decisions and if we don’t like the decisions they take we can chuck them out at the next election. It’s called representative democracy and the system has its faults, but on the whole it’s better than government by daily opinion polls under the influence of vocal pressure groups.
    I was interested in Rosa’s “wakening moment”, when she turned against wind farms because some visitors from Schleswig Holstein reported problems with flicker from the wind turbines there. I bet they did. I was in Schleswig Holstein last October and can well understand their concern. In an area of fenland and farmland about the size of Unst there were several hundred wind turbines, many of them as close as 150 metres to houses. It was an appalling piece of bad planning, almost as bad as the notoriously overdeveloped Smola wind farm in Norway that I had seen the previous month. It was nothing at all like the planned Viking wind farm, or Whitelees or the Braes of Doune that I had visited previously on what my critics are pleased to call a junket (two Flybe flights, eight hours in a bus and one night in a ghastly motel – what fun we junketeers do have!)
    It was because of bad examples like those in Germany and Norway that Viking Energy, from the start, insisted on avoiding the mistakes that had led to valid concerns from people like Rosa’s German visitors.
    Rosa may recall that I was one of the formal objectors to Viking because I believed there were too many turbines in the original planning application. That is why I voted for the council to oppose it and trigger a public inquiry. I lost that vote but the Scottish Government subsequently cut the number of turbines by a third and imposed some of the most stringent planning conditions ever on a wind farm. This satisfied me and, I believe, most other objectors, as a reasonable compromise.
    Schleswig Holstein, by the way, is about as much like the Lake District as Norfolk. While I was there I spoke to the mayor of one of the communities worst affected by the overdevelopment of wind power. “Do you get complaints?” I asked. “Oh, yes,” he said. “What, about health worries?” I asked. “No,” the mayor replied. “It’s mostly about how all the farmers are getting rich from wind farm payments. People think the community ought to be getting some financial return as well.”
    I said I would make a note of that.

    Reply
  4. David Spence

    Dennis, I am intrigued as to what your priority is in regards to the VE Project…… is it

    a) Lets have the quick buck mentality and to hell with the environmental, social, health to people nearby these wind turbines and of course eco-systems or

    b) Are you of the mindset that making money is your priority regardless to any negative impact this may have?

    c) Looking after your own interests is number 1 priority irrespective to what other people may think or say?

    d) As long as you get rich, to hell with the consequences of your actions affecting other people (selfishness being the key attribute to Capitalism) ?

    In this day and age, it is regrettable that the concept of wealth (does money and wealth even have a conscience) takes greater priority than any other social attribute (innovation for the better of society, idea’s, philosophy, education etc etc should be the driving force, not this of individual wealth at the cost to the rest of society). Yes, some people may say it is because of money, greed and wealth that the concept of new idea’s, inventions etc etc……….but this is only because we have been conditioned to accept such a controlling force as a consequence of people in greater power and control than ourselves (call it Capitalism). The concept of money (man-made) has no place whatsoever in any natural basis related to life and the necessity to live………if you believe it does then…. as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

    Reply
  5. Donnie Morrison

    I assume that we are all meant to feel reassured that Councillor Wills has discussed the health aspect of windfarms with a German mayor.
    The renewables industry is quite happy to put profit before health – we know what is being perpetrated in China.
    In New Zealand people who complained about the adverse health effects they are suffering from have been paid off by the windfarm companies and gagged from further comment.
    When I started work in the building industry I was told there was no problem with asbestos. It has taken years of legal battles before the victims of mesothelioma were compensated – sadly many had by then died.
    Big business has a proven record of profit before health – the renewables industry seems to be going down the same path.

    Reply
  6. Jonathan Wills

    Donnie may be interested in this study of wind farms and alleged health effects:

    http://cleantechnica.com/2014/08/18/courts-worldwide-say-wind-farms-dont-make-people-sick/

    Or, on the other hand, given his record of basing arguments on peer-reviewed evidence, possibly not.

    Reply
    • Johan Adamson

      So are you saying our Director of Public Health is wrong?

      Reply
      • Jonathan Wills

        No, Johan, what I’m saying (yet again) is that you should take the trouble to read the expert, peer-reviewed evidence (as distinct from internet chatter and campaign propaganda), which overwhelmingly suggests that there are no valid health concerns likely to arise from a properly planned wind farm development.
        A democratically elected Scottish minister in a democratically elected government decided, after carefully considering a vast amount of independent, expert advice, that the Viking wind farm is properly planned, and has imposed very detailed planning conditions to ensure that it does not cause ill health.
        Dr Taylor’s study was a review of the literature, available at that time, on wind farms and health in general. It was not a study of the potential effects on health of the Viking wind farm. But no matter how often this simple, unarguable fact is repeated, those who have decided that Dr Taylor said this wind farm would make people ill seem determined to cling to their irrational and unsubstantiated belief. Why, I cannot say.

      • Johan Adamson

        You have links to sources, and others have links to alternative sources. Who do we believe? It is a real worry that it is like asbestos or something, perfectly safe til we find out it isnt.

        SCT would have nothing to lose from publishing the Health Impact study and putting an end to the speculation, as well as allaying the fears of those living close to the turbines as regards noise, nuisance, house prices, assessing the effect on tourism, guaranteeing returns, producing funds and plans for the cable, and assuring us that the money will be spent on the needy at SCT, not vanity projects. Why cant we get cheaper electricity here? Oh thats right, SCT doesnt pay to individuals now, just corporates and Trusts.

  7. Rosa Steppanova

    Jonathan, my dear friend,
    The sarcasm is all yours. As you grow older and, hopefully wiser, you may learn to differentiate between irony and sarcasm. I asked a simple question and I would appreciate a simple answer from you.

    Reply
  8. Jonathan Wills

    For those who like to check the original sources, there is more on this website:

    http://www.energyandpolicy.org/wind-health-impacts-dismissed-in-court

    Professor Chapman’s work is of particular interest and should allay any reasonable fears about health impacts.
    Dr Sarah Taylor’s paper for the Shetland Charitable Trust was a review of the literature on wind farms and health, NOT of the potential effects on human health of the Viking wind farm – a topic dealt with in the detailed consideration of the planning application by the Scottish ministers and their expert advisers.
    It is noticeable that the health concerns about which we hear so much did not form a prominent part of Sustainable Shetland’s case in the court hearings. I don’t know why.

    Reply
    • Andrew Halcrow

      A Health Impact Assessment is not a legal requirement for a developer to produce in order to gain planning consent for a windfarm. Therefore, Viking Energy did not legally have to put one forward and it could not form part of a Judicial Review.
      However, if Jonathan is so confident of the minimal health impact of living near large windfarms perhaps he can persuade Viking Energy to publish the Health Impact Assessment they initially commissioned then suddenly halted and which they have, so far, failed to make public.

      Reply
  9. Rachel Buchan

    I do not understand why the two sides of the discussion cannot put their arguments without insulting each other personally. This is why I have lost complete interest in the entire subject. If both sides could project their argument towards the public instead of towards each other, it would be a whole lot more professional, and maybe I would gain some interest in having an opinion again!

    Reply
  10. Sandy McDonald

    I am for wind farms “in principle” but don’t particularly want to have to look at one out my living room window or dotting the hillsides of Shetland. Nimbyism perhaps but there it is. This reminds me of a Yes Minister episode…

    Can’t they just build it on Orkney?

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      I think that’s already been said – and acted on – Sandy, in both Westminster and Holyrood, except it’s Shetlanders who will be on the receiving end, not Orcadians.

      I’m in favour of wind energy, too, in remote places where it’s cost-effective and in combination with, say, batteries, could be used to power a place like Foula or Fair Isle, instead of being faced with the high cost of installing long lines and/or submarine cables, etc.

      I’m not in favour of industrial scale wind farms 500 miles from the centre of demand, with £2.5 billion worth of submarine cables required to be installed between energy source and demand and whose undependable energy is priced about 2.5 -3 times higher than the equivalent, dependable, fossil fuel energy.

      Not least, because I’m one of the ones who will have to pay for it all, via tax and energy bills.

      If a referendum is held among residents which supports the project, I will be saddened for it to proceed but will have no objections because the “democracy” so beloved of Dr Wills will have been seen to have been honoured.

      Until that day, I reserve the right to object in the strongest possible terms, as appropriate.

      Reply
  11. Laurence Paton

    Do wind farms actually reduce fossil fuel consumption?
    Why not use the figures of actual fuel saved for wind farms already in place to promote building more ?
    Surely the Lerwick Power station could tell us about the savings made thanks to wind power ?
    The following link is an interesting read on this topic.
    https://www.wind-watch.org/documents/windmills-increase-fossil-fuel-consumption-and-co2-emissions/

    Reply
  12. Evelyn Morrison

    We can argue the pro’s and con’s of windfarm health effects ad infinitum. The rapacious windfarm industry will obviously deny it is harmful and unfortunately it resorts to insult if anyone disagrees as shown on “Windfarm Health Expert Ethics Challenges”. If the windfarm industry is so convinced there are no side effects why doesn’t it take steps to prove it instead of resorting to denial and ridicule?
    Bill Manson assured us on Radio Shetland that a Health Impact Assessment had been done.
    I am frankly fed up of reading ‘expert panel reviews’ on health effects. Some of these experts are even employed by the wind industry – ‘never bite the hand that feeds you’ springs to mind but I just want the truth.
    Very ordinary decent people – some with no previous axe to grind regarding the wind industry are now complaining that they are suffering from various conditions resulting from living so close to turbines.
    I have more faith in what they have to say than in all the money driven ‘experts reviews’.
    It is horrible living in a community knowing there are individuals willing to compromise the health of their fellow islanders. These supporters have shown no attempt at any form of empathy.

    Reply
  13. Donnie Morrison

    So Dr Wills what exactly do you base your evidence on if not peer reviews? The cleantechnica site seems to be full of rampant pro wind energy enthusiasts. Pay anybody enough and you’ll get the results you want – wind farm objectors manage on a shoestring unlike the wind farm industry.
    Forget green energy and climate change – the wind farm industry is only concerned with one thing – money.
    My well being and that of many others worldwide is of no interest to them.

    Reply
  14. paul barlow

    well our small one has over the last 2 years saved 5k in fuel bills so must be quite a few tons of carbon saved so yes it does.

    Reply
    • Laurence Paton

      So you are confident that, thanks to your wind generator , Lerwick power station has reduced fuel consumption by approximately 5 thousand pounds worth of diesel over the last 2 years ?
      If that is not the case you are being fooled on this concept of green energy.

      Reply
    • John Tulloch

      It isn’t so straightforward as that because, unless your machine is isolated from the local grid, you would also need some form of storage for when the wind drops off, so you still incur the unavoidable cost of the distribution system and the power station, which you still need, anyway, to run inefficiently on light load to maintain the stability of the system (keep the lights on). So, although the power station produces fewer units of electricity, its emissions per unit generated are much higher which means the “savings” are less than claimed and if taken to extremes of wind energy penetration of the grid, may result in more CO2 being emitted than if there were no wind energy at all.

      This, of course, will be disputed by people who, either, have an “axe to grind” or, simply, don’t know what they are talking about.

      Reply
    • Suzy Jolly

      So what’s the carbon footprint of your wind turbine, Paul Barlow, during its construction, getting it to Shetland, and installing it?

      Reply
  15. David Spence

    Quite right Susan, but not only this………….a) carbon footprint for the manufacturing of the parts and/or wind turbine. b) carbon footprint for the transportation of the parts for manufacturing. c) carbon footprint for the construction of the road to the wind turbine. d) carbon footprint for the transportation from where they are made to the UK (if applicable) e) carbon footprint for transporting the parts to Shetland f) carbon footprint transporting parts from Lerwick to the location of the wind turbines and g) carbon footprint for transportation to site and fixing/repairing the wind turbine on site.

    I would think the carbon footprint would be quite significant if you take into consideration all the other aspects related and connected to wind power and this of the VEP.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      “Carbon footprint”, you are all having a laugh…aren’t you?

      On Midsummer Day, 2010, Cairngorm Mountain Resort opened for “winter sports”, including skiing, for the first time, ever.

      This summer, a team of scientists and mountaineers has reported finding early stage “glacier-like” formations on Ben Nevis.

      So much for Himalayan glaciers “disappearing by 2035″, they’re even appearing in Scotland!

      And so much for this prediction by Dr David Viner of University of East Anglia’s now notorious Climate Research Unit:

      From The Independent on 20 March 2000:

      “According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.”

      Asked to comment, Santa Claus chortled, “Ho, Ho, Ho.. that was a “cracker”!

      Reply

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