I was tempted to call this post “Good Mooning” … a play on words because I took this moon picture this morning … until I realised that the phrase could be misconstrued. I insist my bottom has not been on display in any way at all!
It was a lovely dawn with the waning moon still visible and lit by the rising sun and a jet on it’s way somewhere with people making a journey and leaving a contrail behind.
I was supposed to be doing a pile of applications today but the postie arrived good an early with a recorded delivery packet. It contained a report and invitation for the Community Council to respond to a consultation relating to a proposed windfarm development. We have to respond within less than 2 weeks. I sat down and read through; they have covered pretty much everything but there are a couple of additional viewpoints I think they should consider in the environmental impact assessment and a couple of other small issues.
After reading that I received the draft minutes of Wednesday’s Community Council meeting; you will recall I needed to leave early. After I left the planning representative on the Community Council mentioned this proposed windfarm development and that the neighbouring community council was opposed to it and so should we be. Everyone present agreed. There are several problems with this:
- The proposal is not yet a submitted planning application; it is not an appropriate time to oppose it as a consultee;
- The Community Council had not had sight of the report or the correspondence at that time; and
- We are required to represent the views of the community – not the personal views of the Community Councillors. The developers have not yet held their public consultation meetings and we as a Community Council have not been and asked the community their views.
It was kind of a deja vu moment – last year we had a major planning decision relating to a supermarket and it took months to get fellow community councillors out there to ask the public; the ‘old boys network’ has never asked anyone else before so why should they now? well not least because we are liable for our consultation response … each and everyone one of us is potentially liable. So to say I was disappointed in the discussion and decision taken at the meeting is being polite.
This is the first windfarm development in our immediate area that will go to the Scottish Government rather than our local council planning department and unlike the developments that hit the press referring to landowners making a fast buck through subsidies funded by the taxpayer, this is a utility firm aiming to generate a third of the power they need to conduct their business.
Finally as for doing the same thing as out neighbouring Community Council how will that work when we have to justify our consultation response? None of our citizens will see this windfarm, whereas in the neighbouring area some of them may. We do have our own valid reasons for not supporting the development, for example most of the traffic going to the site is likely to need to come through our town with its very limited traffic infrastructure. We do not need to jump on someone else’s bandwagon and we do not need to make ourselves look stupid by copying someone else in making an objection when it is not the time to do so.
I understand that individuals have their views and opinions and many are just against wind power full stop. There is nothing to stop any Community Councillor holding and acting on their personal views as an individual; if those views create a conflict of interest they should announce that and remove themselves from Community Council discussions and decisions on the topic. What they cannot do is put forward their personal view as representing the entire community of almost 6,000 people.
So by this time I was not really in the mood for application writing and it was a beautiful if chilly day so I took Pup and Dog for a similar walk to yesterday. This time I put them both on leads round my waist and that worked much better … still some work to do though. We went to the beech woods today to let Pup explore the burn .. we found a path down the flat area beside the burn in this picture that I took a few weeks ago:
It was a lovely walk; Pup discovered that frozen puddles crack when he stands on them and that he is brave enough to go down steep little embankments into the drainage ditches. He also did his womble impression with a plastic purple bottle that he found.
We arrived back a little weary to find another pre-emptive strike had happened in our absence … Pup’s outdoor toy box – the recycling box has been kidnapped by next door! Next door is owned by a woman who doesn’t live there but her son does and every so often she comes and cleans up after him. It is clearly my recycling box – which was by my front door when I left – from the shape of the mark on the lid where my half brick hods the lid down from taking off. I expect it is full of their crud now but as soon as it is emptied on Tuesday it will be coming home and it will be getting the house number painted on lid and box – one really shouldn’t have to state ownership of municipal recycling boxes!
So there you go – I am fighting it on all fronts – it could be an interesting week!