It is nearly three years since SAS organised a crowdfunding appeal for Helen Douglas when she was looking for ways to fund her Judicial Review to stop the Tullymurdoch wind farm in a bid to protect the scottish wildcat living on the site. https://scotlandagainstspin.org/2017/02/16320/
Helen wrote her own plea for support at the time: https://scotlandagainstspin.org/2017/02/wildcat-osprey-v-tullymurdoch-wind-farm/
Sadly, this brave lady lost both appeals https://scotlandagainstspin.org/2017/05/blairgowrie-shepherd-loses-her-bid-to-halt-wind-farm-at-tullymurdoch-national/
Helen contacted us again recently and has given permission to let us publish this heartrending update to her story.
Turbines two years on…
We are just coming into the second winter of living with the noise and distressing resonance from Tullymurdoch wind turbines. I heard the evocative, burbling cries of the curlews only fleetingly, at the very beginning of the summer. Then they fell silent. It seems as if the hillside has lost its very soul.
After the Court of Session ruled that the construction could go ahead in 2017, nothing happened for some time. Then the diggers arrived. The constant screaming of engines and the high-pitched bleeping of the reverse warning sirens went on for months – including at weekends and outwith the times set by the planning conditions. Complaints made no difference: the contractors knew that, after many, many ‘second chances’, the highest penalty that could be awarded against them would be £300 – a fraction of the cost of going home on time and hiring specialist equipment for even one day longer. They were anxious to erect the turbine that’s closest to the osprey nest before 18th March – the date the female had arrived the previous spring. Weather was against them. On the Friday, the osprey was sighted, and this was reported to the compliance officer in Perth and Kinross Council, who asked the construction company to cease work Needless to say, once the Council offices were shut, the work went on regardless. The blades were hoisted up on the Sunday afternoon. My neighbour and I went to the site to witness this, and we were inquisitioned by the Clerk of Works and verbally assaulted by the land owner – ‘Ger-aff my land!’. We asked to speak to an environmental officer responsible for birds, and were told he only showed up one day a week; and that was not a Sunday….No surprises there, then.
Needless to say, neither scat nor hair of the Tiger Queen of the Highlands (our beleaguered and virtually extinct wildcat) has been seen. The previous year, she was seen by six different people, though I didn’t know of all of the sightings until after the court judgement. Two people had seen her with kittens.
I don’t know if I should add this, but I’d encourage people not to be put off taking wind farm companies/ councils to court, because of the costs involved if they lose…..I did have legal aid, and SAS members did set up crowd funding, the proceeds of which went to pay the expenses of my legal team (who gave their actual work, very generously, pro bono). The costs awarded against me when I lost were limited to £5,000 and as I was unable to pay that outright, the Council accepted my offer to pay by very small installments. I agreed to this with one condition, however, which was that the Council would ensure that noise from the turbines did not go on for days and nights on end. Every time the Council’s lawyer asks me when I am going to pay an instalment, I remind them of this condition, and point to the number of days of continuous disturbance there has been. Nothing is done about the noise, of course. And I do not pay the instalments!