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Greenhouse gas threat from wind farms on peatland goes

Damaging wind farms that unleash carbon dioxide from the soil are being permitted in Scotland because no government body is equipped to advise on the impact of building on peatland, The Scotsman has learned. ...In what the Shetland Council staff member, Hannah Nelson, then described to colleagues in an e-mail as a "surprising response", Mr Liddell added: "Given that government (and also government planning) policy is in favour of wind and other renewables, I wouldn't encourage you to query the carbon benefits of wind farms."

Damagingwind farms that unleash carbon dioxide from the soil are being permitted in Scotland because no government body is equipped to advise on the impact of building on peatland, The Scotsman has learned.

Peat bog has been described as "Scotland's rainforest" because it stores huge quantities of the greenhouse gas , which is released into the atmosphere if the peat is disturbed.

However, council planning teams in Scotland have been unable to get advice on the damage individual wind farms will do, because of a lack of anyone with the necessary expertise.

Documents seen by The Scotsman reveal that neither the Scottish Government, the country's environment watchdog the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, nor Scottish Natural Heritage, can provide informed advice on the issue.

Environmental groups have said they think it "extraordinary" that such an important issue has been neglected and there have been calls for a moratorium on wind farms on peatland until the issue is resolved.

Planning officials at Shetland Islands Council tried to get advice on the likely impact on peat of the 150-turbine Viking Wind Farm, which, if built, would be the largest onshore wind farm in... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Damaging wind farms that unleash carbon dioxide from the soil are being permitted in Scotland because no government body is equipped to advise on the impact of building on peatland, The Scotsman has learned.

Peat bog has been described as "Scotland's rainforest" because it stores huge quantities of the greenhouse gas , which is released into the atmosphere if the peat is disturbed.

However, council planning teams in Scotland have been unable to get advice on the damage individual wind farms will do, because of a lack of anyone with the necessary expertise.

Documents seen by The Scotsman reveal that neither the Scottish Government, the country's environment watchdog the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, nor Scottish Natural Heritage, can provide informed advice on the issue.

Environmental groups have said they think it "extraordinary" that such an important issue has been neglected and there have been calls for a moratorium on wind farms on peatland until the issue is resolved.

Planning officials at Shetland Islands Council tried to get advice on the likely impact on peat of the 150-turbine Viking Wind Farm, which, if built, would be the largest onshore wind farm in Europe.

However, they came up against a brick wall.

A reply from David Liddell, a planning official at the Scottish Government, said: "Sorry, but not aware of a particular source of expertise on the carbon accounting query."

In what the Shetland Council staff member, Hannah Nelson, then described to colleagues in an e-mail as a "surprising response", Mr Liddell added: "Given that government (and also government planning) policy is in favour of wind and other renewables, I wouldn't encourage you to query the carbon benefits of wind farms."

In a report, the team at Shetland revealed their frustration at being unable to get advice on the issue.

"There appears to be no expertise available from within the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, nor the Scottish Government," they wrote.

And Katherine Lakeman, a principal policy officer for Sepa, highlighted her concerns in a report.

"Carbon assessments for significant developments are already coming forward and are not being effectively scrutinised due to the lack of clarity over roles and responsibilities," she said.

Helen McDade, head of policy at the John Muir Trust, said: "I think it's extraordinary that there is nobody available with the necessary expertise. It seems to be a case of see no evil, hear no evil.

"How on earth are local councils supposed to know what to do? It's absolutely urgent that something is done about this."

She believes wind farms that damage peat bogs have already been granted permission in Scotland.

"It's a huge problem," she said. "Most of the north-west, which has been identified as the best place to put these wind farms, is deep peat. Such developments should not go ahead. The peatland is the equivalent of our rainforests."

She said there also needed to be a government inspector to check on whether wind farms were damaging peat after they are built.

Billy Fox, from Sustainable Shetland, fighting the Viking wind farm project, said: "There should be a moratorium on building wind farms on peatland. This is our rainforest. It's a huge carbon sink. There is a wind-rush going on and the science hasn't caught up yet."

Among wind farms that have been granted permission despite concerns that they are on peatland, are the 33-turbine Eishken wind farm in Lewis.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage are statutory consultees within the planning process and should be able to advise on these issues."


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

JUN 12 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/26705-greenhouse-gas-threat-from-wind-farms-on-peatland-goes
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