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Bellamy's 'bog off' to turbines

TV botanist David Bellamy has joined the campaign against a wind-farm project earmarked for the Lothians, labelling the plans "international vandalism".

He is outraged that the proposed 18 wind turbines at Auchencorth Moss near Penicuik would be built on raised bogs, which he says are among the rarest types of vegetation on Earth.

He also claims that there are plans in place in the UK, as well as throughout Western Europe, to conserve raised bogs.

But the firm that is planning to build the 40 million wind farm has dismissed the claims, saying the site is a man-modified bog, so is "not even in its natural state".

In Scotland, 90 per cent of the raised bogs have been depleted in recent decades, and Auchencorth Moss is the last remaining raised bog in Midlothian.

Professor Bellamy said: "Home to a very specialist flora and fauna, they are in terms of nature conservation akin to tropical rain forests and are much rarer.

"To site any industrial development that will adversely affect the land, landscape and the integrity of such a rare resource is tantamount to an act of international vandalism.

"Landlords beware, the more disturbance there is to the actual peat deposits and the catchments control at the Penicuik site the more sub-fossil carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere and the more downstream problems could develop."

The land earmarked... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
He is outraged that the proposed 18 wind turbines at Auchencorth Moss near Penicuik would be built on raised bogs, which he says are among the rarest types of vegetation on Earth.

He also claims that there are plans in place in the UK, as well as throughout Western Europe, to conserve raised bogs.

But the firm that is planning to build the £40 million wind farm has dismissed the claims, saying the site is a man-modified bog, so is "not even in its natural state".

In Scotland, 90 per cent of the raised bogs have been depleted in recent decades, and Auchencorth Moss is the last remaining raised bog in Midlothian.

Professor Bellamy said: "Home to a very specialist flora and fauna, they are in terms of nature conservation akin to tropical rain forests and are much rarer.

"To site any industrial development that will adversely affect the land, landscape and the integrity of such a rare resource is tantamount to an act of international vandalism.

"Landlords beware, the more disturbance there is to the actual peat deposits and the catchments control at the Penicuik site the more sub-fossil carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere and the more downstream problems could develop."

The land earmarked for the wind farm is a designated site of special scientific interest, containing a bog with rare types of moss and plant life. It is near Gladhouse reservoir, which attracts large numbers of a rare breed of geese. The projected scheme will generate enough clean, green power to supply around 22,000 homes, or almost 60 per cent of Midlothian homes.

The planning application for the wind farm is scheduled to be sent to Midlothian Council early next month by the German energy conglomerate E.ON UK.

Tony Trewavis, a professor of plant biology at Edinburgh University who joined the Penicuik Environment Protection Association in campaigning against the wind farm, believes that the company would be unlikely to be given approval to carry out the project in its homeland.

He said: "I very much suspect they wouldn't be allowed to do this in Germany. There's a big move to re-establish raised bogs there because of the amount that they've built on them.

"Auchencorth Moss is a mix of various kinds of bog lands and is the last remaining peat bog in Midlothian.

We need to look to leave this type of diverse biological ecosystem to our children and grandchildren."

The Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) does not believe that the site would even be feasible, as the bogs are in excess of 90 per cent water, which will make the turbines difficult to stabilise. It also today admitted it would be concerned about the damage to the vulnerable habitat.

Alan Anderson, SWT's conservation manager for Edinburgh and the Lothians, added: "We would be concerned if the proposal impacts on this habitat and the species it supports."

But Bellamy's claims have been refuted by E.ON UK. Its spokesman, Jonathan Smith, said: "The turbines are going into a man-modified bog, so it is not even a bog in its natural state. If we believed that we were going to destroy a habitat that needed to be protected, then we would be foolish to build there. We are not in agreement with the views expressed by Professor Bellamy."

A Scottish Executive spokes-woman said: "Since raised bog habitat is a feature of the site we would anticipate that Scottish Natural Heritage would be consulted on the implications of the proposal in due course."

Source: http://news.scotsman.com/sc...

DEC 24 2005
http://www.windaction.org/posts/811-bellamy-s-bog-off-to-turbines
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